tooth decay

What are the main causes of tooth decay?

Tooth decay is something most of us underestimate until it takes hold – at which point it can be a painful and a time-consuming process to correct it. To avoid tooth decay preventative dentistry is recommended, regularly visiting the dentist is the best ways to make sure that you keep your mouth and gums healthy. To do that you need to know why decay crops up in the first place. Below are some of the main causes of tooth decay to look out for:

Bad routines

If you don’t brush your teeth, floss and use mouthwash then you’re risking poor oral hygiene, which is one of the main causes of tooth decay. You should brush your teeth at least morning and night for around two minutes but, ideally, after every meal too. Flossing and using mouthwash regularly will ensure your teeth remain in great condition.


Foods that are high in sugar encourage bacteria in your mouth, which can then coat your teeth in damaging acids. Many foods have hidden sugars in – it’s not just chocolate and sweets that are the culprits – and any food that is high in carbohydrates, such as crisps, white bread, pretzels and biscuits, carries this risk. It’s also worth bearing in mind that juices can have the same harmful sugars as fizzy drinks.

Smoking and drinking

If you drink or smoke regularly then you are increasing the chances of tooth decay. Alcohol is a contributor to the erosion of the enamel on your teeth and the nicotine in cigarettes can stop the production of the amount of saliva that you need to keep your teeth clean.

Dry mouth

As mentioned above, saliva is crucial to a healthy mouth, as it helps to keep teeth clean and neutralise acids. If you suffer from a dry mouth then this could increase the risk of decay. This could be caused by medications such as antihistamines and beta-blockers.

A lack of fluoride

Fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay by making teeth more resistant to those acids that can erode enamel. Fluoride is added to most public water supplies and you may also find it in toothpastes and mouthwashes.

If you’re concerned about tooth decay or you want to schedule a check up then contact your local Smile Pad branch for a quote or a consultation.


We are pleased to inform all patients seeking dental treatment that our practices are, and will remain open to cater to all your dental needs and maintain your oral health. We are available should you need advice, urgent care, or simply wish to attend for any other dental treatment. Our practices operate under the strictest government guidance and coronavirus protocols. Your safety and the safety of your family remains our priority. We look forward to welcoming you to our practice.
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