Explaining Tooth Decay

The video above was developed by the Australian Dental Association to explain how tooth decay develops and how to prevent it. Below is a transcript of the content.

Explaining Tooth Decay With the Australian Dental Association

Millions of bacteria live inside the human mouth. Sugar from the foods and drinks we consume feeds some of these bacteria, giving them the energy to produce acid.

This acid attacks the surface of the teeth, causing enamel minerals to dissolve. This is called “demineralisation”.

Together, saliva and fluoride toothpaste protect the teeth by neutralising the acids and replacing the lost enamel minerals. This is called “remineralisation”.

By regularly consuming sugary foods and drinks, the saliva and fluoride toothpaste may not be able to keep up with replacing the lost tooth minerals. When tooth mineral loss outweighs mineral replacement, this can result in tooth decay. 

If tooth decay is only in the enamel layer, it can still be stopped. Once it travels to the inner dentine layer, the tooth may require a filling. 

Pro Tips for Preventing Tooth Decay

  1. Remember to look out for foods with hidden sugars.
  2. Eat a diet low in sugar, less than 6 teaspoons (24 grams) of sugar per day.
  3. Brush twice daily using fluoride toothpaste to decrease your risk of developing tooth decay.
  4. And visit your dentist regularly to prevent problems and keep on smiling.

Find more pro tips at ada.org.au/tips 

Learn more by browsing our articles on diet and dental disease.