Tooth decay

The tooth decay process can be painless and occur over a long period of time. Decay can occur in any part of the tooth, even in exposed root surfaces or around and under existing fillings. Sometimes decay can only be detected by an x-ray, particularly in the early stages.

Causes of tooth decay

Common causes of tooth decay include:

  • not brushing your teeth properly
  • not using a fluoride toothpaste
  • not cleaning well between your teeth
  • eating or drinking things with a lot of sugar in them often.

Signs and symptoms of tooth decay

Signs and symptoms of tooth decay include:

  • teeth which are often covered in food debris or plaque
  • holes in teeth
  • broken teeth
  • brown or discoloured teeth
  • tooth sensitivity to hot, cold or sweet food or drinks
  • difficulty chewing or eating
  • toothache
  • bad breath
  • swelling in the face or jaw area.

If you have any of these symptoms, make an appointment to see your dentist.

Preventing tooth decay

You can easily prevent tooth decay by:

  • brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
  • flossing daily
  • reducing how much and how often you have sugary food or drinks
  • visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups.