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What causes cavities in our teeth?

"Tooth decay is the most common reason for young children to be hospitalised"

This headline comes around once or twice every year and the situation is not getting better. In fact the number of dental extractions on young children has increased by nearly 25% in the last 10 years, and a huge 31% of adults have tooth decay. So why is this happening?

Dental decay is a preventable disease, and it is so important that we do something to try and reduce these statistics. The key to preventing decay is to first understand what causes dental decay.

Why sugar rots our teeth

We all know that sugar causes dental decay but how does it actually do this?

Watch the video below to see how sugar causes holes in our teeth

We all have millions of bacteria in our mouth, which includes both good and bad bacteria. Some bacteria can cause decay, and these are known as cariogenic bacteria. These bacteria uses the sugar that we eat for energy, producing acids as a by-product. These acids cause minerals to be lost from the tooth in a process called demineralisation. Over time, these repeated acid attacks can destroy the enamel and cause holes.

Fortunately, your saliva can neutralise these acids. Saliva also contains minerals to help replace the lost minerals, which is known as remineralisation. It takes about 30 mins for the saliva to neutralise acids after a sugar attack. There is a constant cycle of demineralisation and remineralisation. The more frequently we have sugar, the more time your mouth spends in the phase of demineralisation, and it becomes harder for the saliva to replace the lost minerals. If we lose more minerals than we replace, we will eventually get a cavity.

Ensure you have a healthy mouth and book your oral health assessment today on 0161 327 2878

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