How to prevent tooth decay?

How to prevent tooth decay?

As the hardest substance in the body, tooth enamel protects our teeth from external influences. One should attach particular importance to its protection: Once it has been destroyed, it cannot be reproduced again.

Acids attack tooth enamel
Tooth enamel is the outermost layer of the teeth. It consists mainly of the crystalline mineral hydroxylappatite, which is composed of calcium cations, phosphate anions and hydroxyl groups. Although tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body, acids can leach calcium and phosphate ions out of tooth enamel. This becomes softer and disappears completely over time - dentists then speak of tooth decay.

The most common tooth erosion is caused by constant consumption of acidic beverages such as sodas or undiluted fruit juices. But also rising stomach acid e.g. excessive vomiting can damage the tooth enamel.
Those affected do not notice anything at first. Only when the erosions reach inside the teeth do the teeth react painfully to cold or warm food.

How to prevent tooth decay?
The most important means of protecting the teeth is saliva: it creates an almost pH-neutral environment and is rich in calcium and phosphate ions. The flow of saliva is already stimulated when you see or smell the food, but especially when you chew. To prevent tooth erosion, experts recommend chewing sugar-free chewing gum.

If tooth erosion is already present, one should at least protect the remaining tooth enamel. Sufferers should change their eating habits and brush their teeth with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste containing fluoride. The pharmacist or dentist will help you decide which toothpaste is the right one. The treatment of diseases also plays an important role. If, for example, you repeatedly vomit due to pregnancy, the mouth should initially only be rinsed with water - brushing your teeth immediately after contact with acid damages the tooth enamel additionally.

Source: PTA today, practical knowledge for the pharmacy, edition 9/2019

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