Elm House tips on avoiding tooth decay
Decay is primarily caused by sugar and plaque.
Plaque on teeth takes sugar from the mouth and converts it into acid. The acid then dissolves the surfaces of your teeth.
Even a small amount of sugar can cause this. So just half a teaspoons of sugar in a cup of tea is actually as bad as three teaspoons. One Smartie is as bad as ten at once. Every intake of sugar will cause an acid attack lasting around 20 minutes.
Although saliva fights against this process, there is a limit to how successful it can be. Any more than four attacks a day and the decay process will inevitably win.
How to help prevent tooth decay:
1) Reduce the number of acid attacks
The most important thing to do by far is to reduce the number of acid attacks taking place. It is quite likely that your meals will contain some sugar, so they will count towards the number of attacks.
- Eat all the Smarties in one sitting
- Replace sugar in teas and coffees with sweeteners
- Choose sugar-free products if possible (note ‘reduced sugar’ or ‘no added sugar’ products may still contain sugar).
2) Brush your teeth thoroughly
The reason why it is second on the list is that there will still inevitably be some plaque left on your teeth after brushing, so the only way of avoiding tooth decay is to have no sugar. Tooth brushing also plays an important role in preventing gum disease.
3) Use toothpastes and mouth rinses containing fluoride
Fluoride is actually incorporated into the enamel and helps fight against acid. And it can also help promote friendlier plaque bacteria.
4) Snack on sugar-free foods
Cheese is a great snacking food in regards to preventing tooth decay. Savoury biscuits, nuts, raw vegetables, breadsticks and fruits in moderation are also sensible options.