Ph: (02) 9484 5198 Email: Yarrara Road, Pennant Hills NSW 2120


What causes tooth decay?


Sugar and refined carbohydrates are used by plaque bacteria, producing acids which attack the tooth. The tooth is broken down by a process known as demineralisation where tooth mineral is lost due to acid attack.


Why does decay happen?

  1. Poor oral hygiene – ineffective brushing or flossing.
  2. Lack of fluoride in the water supply during development of the teeth.
  3. Frequent intake of sugary or acidic foods or drinks.
  4. Dry mouth – saliva helps to protect our teeth by diluting the acid that forms after eating. Dry mouth may be caused by some medications (eg, anti depressants) drugs (eg, metamphetamines) and extreme stress. Dry mouth is also common following menopause in patients suffering chronic pain, and patients who are chronic mouth breathers.

Understanding the causes of dental decay and how it can be controlled gives us the power to control most decay in our own mouths. Home care and lifestyle habits are key factors in preventing decay. We recommend the following steps to help control and eliminate tooth decay.

  1. Correct brushing and flossing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste.
  2. Minimising sugary or acidic foods and drinks.
  3. Limiting between meal snacks and drinks.
  4. Sip water if your mouth feels dry.
  5. Comprehensive saliva assessment.
  6. Carifree™ -  caries screen biofilm test to identify bacterial species that are dominant in tooth decay.
  7. The use of fluoride containing mouthrinses or gels if necessary.
  8. Regular dental visits which include topical fluoride application.


Diet and Decay


Not only contributing to obesity and diabetes in Australia, frequent snacking is also having a damaging effect on our oral health. Each time food containing sugar (in any form) or starch is eaten, the bacteria in your mouth produces acids that attack the teeth for about twenty minutes.

It is recommended that sugary foods should only be consumed during or directly after a meal as this will ensure the amount of acid attacks on your teeth are minimised. Also, sugar free chewing gum is recommended as it increases your saliva flow and helps to neutralise the acid from the bacteria which in turn protects your teeth.

Eat a well-balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, cheese, yoghurt, bread, cereals and protein. If you do snack between meals, we strongly recommend to rinse your mouth with water prior to brushing. Many beverages contain a lot more sugar (both refined and natural) than we realise. The major culprits are soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit drinks, cordials and some alcoholic beverages. These drinks are often also acidic and can cause erosion damage to your teeth. Water is definitely the healthiest option of beverage.

Ask Our Dentist

Our experienced dental team is happy to answer any questions you may have about your dental health and care. Email us your question today, simply click on the link below and fill in the form.

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