If you ask any dentist what issue with regards to poor dental health they believe is the most preventable, many of them will answer, ‘tooth decay’. Whilst there may be many oral health issues that can exist as a result of other underlying health issues, tooth decay is one. that in a lot of cases, is self-created, and as such is preventable.

If you then ask the public what they know about tooth decay, you are likely to be shocked by their lack of knowledge. Many will mention sugar and fizzy drinks, but the majority would appear unaware of many of the facts relating to tooth decay. This is concerning, as without knowledge of a problem, how are people meant to prevent it from happening? So, to help address this, here are 7 facts about tooth decay, everyone should know.

#1: One that most people know, but it is worth confirming, that the reason most people get tooth decay is by virtue of the types of food and drink they consume. In particular, food and drink with high levels of sugar such as chocolate, fizzy drinks, and lollies. Alternative, low-sugar, or sugar-free options are available which are far less damaging to our teeth

#2: Poor oral hygiene also leads to tooth decay as lack of brushing and flossing allows dental plaque to build up. When this happens increased amounts of acid build up on our teeth, acid starts to break down the surface of those teeth and subsequently causes cavities. In the worst cases the tooth, or multiple teeth, become so decayed that they are beyond saving and either fall out or have to be removed.

#3: Many people have tooth decay and do not realise they have it until a dental check-up allows their dentist to spot it. This is due to the fact that in its earliest stages, tooth decay is not always clearly visible, nor does it create any noticeable symptoms. This points to the need for everyone to have regular check-ups at their dentist, even if their teeth look and feel healthy.

#4: The areas of our teeth which are most susceptible to tooth decay are the surfaces that are used to bite and chew food, and the surfaces between each tooth. The reason is that these are the surfaces that are most prone to plaque building up due to a lack of brushing and flossing.

#5: Apart from reducing your intake of sugar, one of the best ways to prevent tooth decay is to brush your teeth in the correct manner. This means brushing the entire surface of your teeth and making sure you brush those areas that ordinarily might be missed as they are hard to reach.

#6: Brushing is all good and well, but it acts as an ever better block on tooth decay if you use the correct brush, and it has the most appropriate bristles. Unless your dentist has told you to use one, a toothbrush with hard bristles is not necessary. Instead, a soft or medium bristled toothbrush will suffice.

#7: Even if your brush is the correct one, and you brush diligently throughout the day, there is another part of your dental hygiene which is essential to avoiding tooth decay, and that is flossing. If you do not floss, much of the plaque that exists between your teeth will remain, and as we have already mentioned, plaque is a prime cause of tooth decay, so ensure you remove it by flossing after you brush your teeth.