Tooth decay or caries is an attack on the enamel (the hard protective layer) of the teeth. Indeed, your teeth are encased in a thin layer of plaque, formed by food and saliva. Bacteria in the plaque make acids that very gradually dissolve the tooth enamel, creating holes. Advanced caries can eventually lead to loss of teeth. Healthy nutrition and dental hygiene are therefore very important.

Symptoms of tooth decay

  • Yellow or brown spots on teeth.
  • Cavities in teeth, often in the places where molars or teeth are close to each other.
  • Drinking cold and sometimes hot drinks can be painful.
  • If the tooth decay continues toothache or toothache if you eat acidic or salty things, for example.
  • At an even further stage, teeth and/or molars can continuously hurt.
  • The gums around a molar or tooth with tooth decay can become inflamed and begin to bleed easily.
  • A bad taste in your mouth.
  • Bad breath.
  • Severe pain with tooth root inflammation.
  • Sometimes a jaw abscess forms if you keep postponing treatment.

Tips to prevent tooth decay

  • Limit your meals to four to five a day. Those who eat and snack throughout the day keep the acidity in the plaque high and increase their chance of cavities in the teeth. Leaving two to three hours between full meals and snacks gives the enamel a chance to recover from the acid attack.
  • Avoid sugars outside of meals. Sugars are in soft drinks, puddings, syrups and cookies. Brush and floss your teeth every time you’ve eaten something sweet.
  • Increase saliva production. Saliva normalizes acidity. Therefore, chew well during meals. Afterwards, a sugar-free chewing gum can have a tooth-cleaning effect and eliminate the acids from the mouth. However, he cannot replace all cleanings.
  • Brush the teeth with fluorinated toothpaste. The less plaque around the teeth, the less acid formation will be. In addition, fluoride in the saliva ensures that the teeth are better able to cope with the harmful effects of eating sugars. Be sure to brush your teeth in the morning after breakfast and in the evening before bedtime.
  • Use dental floss after brushing. Gently remove the floss through all the cracks between your teeth to remove the remnants of plaque.
  • Avoid sour drinks. Lemon-based drinks, grapefruit juice and most soft drinks affect tooth enamel due to their natural acidity. Drink plenty of water. After all, plaque thrives well in a dry mouth.
  • Smoking increases the risk of all kinds of dental and gum problems. The good news is that this risk is greatly reduced if you give up this habit.
  • Go for a check-up at the dentist at least once a year. He or she can check the teeth for caries and remove any tartar. In this way, the dentist prevents inflammation of the gums or inflammation that spreads to the jawbone. Children are best checked every six months.