Q How can I prevent tooth decay and cavities?

A Cavities are defects in your teeth that are left when you have long-term tooth decay.

Teeth are covered with a protective layer called enamel ­— once that’s weakened by acids from bacteria, cavities are formed.

Tooth decay is caused when foods that contain carbohydrates get trapped between teeth and aren’t removed through brushing or flossing. The acids produced by the bacterial plaque slowly eat away at the enamel, creating holes in your teeth called cavities.

If left untreated, these holes can get bigger and destroy the affected teeth.

The main causes of decay are sugary foods and drinks.

The more sugar you consume, the more acid is produced, which leads to decay.

When sugar combines with plaque, it weakens your enamel and increases your chances of having tooth decay.

It’s not only sugary foods that can cause tooth decay and cavities.

Foods that stick to your teeth and the majority of cooked foods containing starch increase the chances of plaque build-up.

Snacking regularly is also a major contributor. Some diets promote regular snacking to lose weight but snacking frequently, regardless of what you eat, gives the acids more time to damage your teeth.

There are many ways to prevent tooth decay and cavities.

Firstly, try to eat as healthily as possible, which means limiting the amount of sugary foods and drinks you consume.

Secondly, look after your teeth by brushing twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste, and cleaning in between your teeth.

Lastly, make sure you visit the dentist for a check-up at least every six months.

* For more information about dental issues, contact Synergy Dental Clinics Bolton or Bury, email bury@synergydental.org.uk or go to synergydental.org.uk/dentist-in-bury