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The bacteria sticking to your teeth in plaque break down sugars and other carbohydrates that we eat, and produce acids. These acids dissolve the enamel and dentine that make up the tooth structure, and create a hole in the tooth. This process is called dental caries or tooth decay. 

Once a hole has developed in the tooth surface you will need to have the decay removed from the tooth and a filling placed to seal the surface and build up the shape of the tooth again. Tooth decay may occur in the enamel cap, around and under fillings and in the softer root dentine exposed as gums recede. 

Common causes

  • Frequent intake of sugary drinks, including fruit juices and fizzy drinks
  • Snacking on foods high in sugar
  • Poor or lack of tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste
  • Lack of cleaning between teeth
  • Dry mouth

Warning sings

  • Tooth covered in food and debris
  • Holes in teeth
  • Broken teeth
  • Brown or discoloured teeth
  • Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold foods
  • Difficulty eating or chewing
  • Toothache
  • Bad breath
  • Swelling the the face and jaw area

How to prevent

  • Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste
  • Once daily flossing or interdental cleaning
  • Reduction of sugary foods and drinks, especially in between meals - and replacing with healthy alternatives such as water than a fizzy drink
  • Regular professional check-ups to spot and treat tooth decay, to stop further damage to your teeth