Dental decay is a preventable condition.
Decay is caused by plaque that collects on our tooth surface. Plaque contains bacteria that feed on sugars in the food and drinks we consume and produce acid as a result.
This acid dissolves away the minerals in our tooth enamel (the outer surface of the tooth). Teeth can repair themselves with the minerals present in saliva or with fluoride in tooth paste and tap water. However if plaque is not removed regularly or if too much sugar is consumed and/or eaten too often the bacteria produces more acid than the tooth can protect itself against and eventually a cavity forms on the tooth. As the cavity becomes larger and gets closer to the living part of the tooth (the pulp), the tooth can become sensitive to hot and cold. If the hole reaches the pulp the tooth can die and cause a toothache and/or an abscess.
Brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste and flossing once a day helps to remove plaque. Avoid eating after brushing your teeth at night.
Reduce the consumption of sugary food and drink and limit it to mealtimes only. Each time food or drink containing sugar is eaten bacteria produce acids which attack our teeth for at least 20 minutes.
Snack on cheese, fruit and vegetables and stick to water in between meals.
Avoid snacking on sugar or having sweet drinks between meals. There is less saliva in your mouth between meals leaving your teeth vulnerable. Sticky sweets, biscuits or lollipops that release sugar slowly over a long period of time are more destructive as they prolong the exposure of your teeth to sugar.
Have regular checkups and x-rays with your dentist to detect cavities whilst they are small and repair them with fillings.