The Oral Health Foundation has recently launched a brand-new campaign: The Truth About Tooth Decay. This campaign is designed to increase awareness about the dangers of tooth decay and encourage people to take better care of their teeth and visit the hygienist regularly. It also provides tips and advice on how to take better care of your teeth at home.
Recognising the signs
Tooth decay can be a tricky to identify as often there are no obvious visual symptoms. Most early signs of tooth decay are picked up at regular appointments with a dentist or hygienist who know what to look out for.
More advanced tooth decay can cause uncomfortable symptoms like toothache, bad breath, sensitivity to sweet things and visual differences in your teeth, like dark spots. If these are left untreated, teeth could start to fail and require fillings or crowns and/or root canal treatment. In serious cases, it can even lead to tooth loss.
Tooth decay is very common and can affect many different types of people. In fact, around one in eight adults will have one or more teeth with decay. But there are a few groups who might be more at risk including those who smoke, people with high sugar diets and the elderly.
How to avoid it
The good news is that tooth decay is preventable. Some things you can do to reduce your risk of tooth decay are:
- Cut down on sugary foods, including some carbohydrates.
- Brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes.
- At night, brush your teeth just before you go to bed and don’t consume anything other than water once you’ve brushed them.
- Use a high fluoride toothpaste containing up to 1450 ppm of fluoride and don’t rinse your mouth when you’ve finished brushing. This makes sure that the fluoride stays on your teeth and protects them.
- Make sure you maintain regular visits to your hygienist to keep on top of any issues that may arise.
If you have a history of tooth decay or are particularly at risk, your dentist may prescribe you a higher fluoride toothpaste which contains up to 5000 ppm – over three times the amount you usually find in over-the-counter toothpaste.
There are many ways to help you maintain good oral health. Regular visits to the dentist and hygienist will help you to keep on top of many issues; ideally, you should aim to visit the hygienist every six months.
Another great way to stay informed is to visit the Oral Health Foundation’s website and even to listen to their recent podcast series, which can be streamed from their website or downloaded from wherever you get your podcasts.
And don’t forget our own website also has lots of useful oral health advice.
Book an appointment with one of our friendly dentists or hygienists by calling us on 01482 565488.