Tooth Decay – A guide to staying healthy

Tooth decay can creep up on you when you least expect it or even when you think nothing is wrong. The early symptoms can be very difficult to spot. Tooth decay only becomes obviously visible in the more serious stages of the disease which is why it’s paramount to catch it early….


Developing tooth decay….


  • Harmful bacteria and acid will populate your mouth and in-between your teeth once tooth decay has begun. This will travel travel to the inner tooth material called pulp, containing blood vessels and nerves.
  • The pulp will become irritated by the build up of bacteria causing gradual pain that may go unnoticed at first cause a lot of pain which may spread beyond your teeth and attack your immune system.
  • To fight back, your body will send white blood cells to tackle any infection which can lead to lumps of puss which build (this is the result of a bacterial infection) otherwise known as an abscess.



Main Causes

  • What you’re eating & drinking – Today, we know more than ever about the foods and drinks likely to damage our oral health and teeth when consumed in copious amounts. As a reminder, this includes foods high in sugar, fizzy carbonated, sugary drinks, alcohol such as teeth-staining red wine and caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee which will stain teeth overtime.
  • Lazy brushing– Lots of us have so many excuses to to avoid brushing our teeth for the recommended time – even at all! 25% of adults fail to brush their teeth twice a day which makes them more susceptible to weakened enamel and in turn, gum disease and tartar build up.

The location of specific teeth – The teeth at the back of your mouth are prone to tooth decay. Molars and premolars contain tiny pockets perfect for food particles to latch into. Subsequently layers of plaque form and your enamel (the protective coating on your teeth) becomes weak or rubs off altogether. You can get plaque removed by seeing your hygienist, but you have to make sure to maintain your teeth once they scrape off the tartar.

Spot it early

Tooth decay will show itself through the following symptoms…

  • Sharp when eating or drinking – specifically sweet food and drink as well as tough and hard foods.
  • Any holes in your teeth.
  • Brown, white or black coloured staining around the bottom of your teeth/gums.
  • Pain or sensitivity when you grind, apply any pressure to, or bite down on to your teeth.


Next steps?  

Anxious you might have tooth decay? Make an appointment with us even if your last check-up was less than 6 months ago. Only half of adults in the UK visit the dentist the government recommended twice a year – this may explain why 74% of adults have had a tooth extracted!


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