Bolton dentist shares tips for healthy, cavity-free teeth

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With tooth decay dominating the headlines, a Bolton dentist has shared his tips for keeping teeth cavity-free.

Dr Richard Ho, from Synergy Dental, explained that cavities, holes in the teeth, form as a result of harmful acids weakening the protective enamel coating of the tooth. Once the enamel is worn, the surface can be penetrated, and small holes start to develop. Decay is almost always linked to preventable factors, including poor oral hygiene and a diet rich in sugary and acidic foods. 

For healthy, strong teeth, Dr Ho recommends brushing the teeth twice a day every day with fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is a mineral that is added to toothpaste products and some water supplies to strengthen the enamel and reduce the risk of decay. Brushing for 2 minutes every morning and evening helps to remove bacteria and food debris before they can combine with saliva to create plaque. Plaque is a sticky white film, which collects on the teeth and around the gum line. In addition to twice-daily brushing, it’s also beneficial to clean between the teeth using floss or inter-dental brushes. 

Diet is a major factor, especially for children’s dental health, and sugar consumption is one of the main reasons rates of decay are so high among youngsters. When you eat sugary foods, the bacteria in your mouth feed, and this causes them to release acids that attack the enamel. Sugary foods should be treats, rather than staple dietary items, and ideally, it’s best to avoid them completely between meals. Drinking water and sugar-free cordial and cutting down on snacks such as ice cream, chocolate, sweets, fruit smoothies, biscuits, flavoured yoghurts, and cakes can have a very positive impact on oral health. Parents are advised to check food labels carefully, as some products that are marketed as healthy, for example, yoghurts and cereal, can actually have high sugar content.

The final tip is to make sure you visit your dentist on a regular basis. Children should attend check-ups every 6 months, while adults should go to the dentist every 6-12 months. NHS dental treatment is free of charge for children.

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