Paterson & Sadler

Tooth decay

Tooth decay (dental caries) is caused by refined sugar (sucrose) in your diet. Plaque accumulates on teeth and if tooth cleaning is inadequate it builds up to form a thick layer on the teeth. Sugar from your diet is used as food by plaque bacteria to form acid (as a by product) which dissolves tooth substance. Over time this causes a cavity to appear which once through the outer layer of tooth (enamel) spreads quickly through the inner layer of the tooth.

Decay in the biting surface of a back tooth

Decay in the biting surface of a back tooth

The modern diet contains much refined sugar. Typically carbonated drinks and sugary snacks have a high sugar content. However some processed foods eg some yoghurts, canned baked beans etc less obviously have a fairly high sugar content.

Rampant tooth decay due to poor tooth cleaning and excessive carbonated drinks

Rampant tooth decay due to poor tooth cleaning and excessive carbonated drinks

In patients  with a heavily restored mouth recurrent dental decay often occurs around existing restorations (fillings or crowns). The problem with this is that the affected teeth are often heavily restored and the decay is therefore more devastating (eventually there is nothing viable left to restore). In people with a heavily restored mouth we suggest you undertake the following preventive regime:

The harsh reality in many cases is that although we can restore most teeth  unless diet and oral hygiene improve and remain improved the decay will return and in time the even more heavily restored teeth will once more be affected by decay and multiple tooth loss will occur.

“God gives almonds to those who have no teeth”

Spanish proverb