What is in the tooth?
Enamel is the part of the tooth we all see. It covers the crown and is the hardest tissue in the body. Dentine makes up the biggest part of the tooth and gives teeth their colour. Pulp is rich in nerves and blood vessels.
What is dental caries?
Dental caries or tooth decay is caused by demineralisation. Demineralisation is as a result of acids produced by the bacteria on tooth surfaces attacking enamel. Cavities are caused by prolonged demineralisation. Tooth decay usually occurs on the biting surfaces of a tooth. It also occurs on the surfaces between the teeth and around fillings.
What can you do to prevent caries?
Remove plaque thoroughly from all tooth surfaces by brushing your teeth daily. Use floss or interdental brushes to clean between the teeth, where cavities often develop (ask your dentist to show you how you can Introduce flossing or interdental brushing into your daily regime. If you would like to check how effective your daily brushing technique is, discuss using disclosing tablets with your dentist or oral hygienist. Use a toothpaste with an appropriate level of fluoride, twice daily. Use a soft toothbrush always. Brush in a circular motion so that you don't miss any teeth. Check your diet to reduce sugar intake; especially between meals. If you suffer from a dry mouth, possibly due to medication, talk to your dental professional. Visit your dentist regularly for dental check-ups.
Using your Toothbrush
It is important that you remove any plaque build-up daily and thoroughly by brushing and flossing. If plaque is not removed each day, it can harden to form a hard substance known as calculus (tartar). Once calculus has formed, it will have to be removed by your dental professional.
Dental Floss/ Interdental Brushes
Dental floss removes plaque from between teeth where it is hard to reach with your toothbrush. If flossing proves difficult, try using one of the many different sized interdental brushes. If you are unsure about interdental brushes, contact your dentist or oral hygienist to advise what is best suited to you.
Mouth rinses can provide extra fluoride but do not replace the need to brush and floss your teeth daily. Mouth rinses are not recommended for children under 6 years of age.