Our teeth are really important. We need our teeth so that we can chew our food and we need our teeth to smile. But what can go wrong with our teeth? And what is the point of going to the dentist?
Well, the most common thing that goes wrong with childrens’ teeth is tooth decay. Tooth decay is when you get holes in your teeth. This is bad news. When you get tooth decay, your teeth can start to hurt and you can even get infections in your gums.
I want to explain to you how tooth decay starts so that you understand how to stop it from happening to you.
Inside your mouth, there are lots and lots of bacteria. Bacteria are tiny little animals, so small that you cannot see them. They live on your teeth and all around your mouth. Most of the time, they don’t do much. They lie around, chatting about what you had for breakfast or commenting on the weather.
But when you eat sugar, they go bananas. When you eat food with sugar in, they eat it too. They eat the sugar and then poo acid onto the surface of your teeth.
The acid damages the surface of your teeth. If you eat lots of sugar, the bacteria eat lots too and the bacteria make lots of acid. Over time, the acid will damage the tooth so much that it will make a hole in the tooth. This is tooth decay.
Bacteria + Sugar = Acid
Acid + Time = Tooth Decay
So how do we avoid getting holes in our teeth? Well, we need to get rid of the things that cause tooth decay. Look at the equations above. It’s bacteria and sugar that are the problem.
If we want to get rid of the bacteria, we need to brush our teeth. Simple! We need to brush all of our teeth to get rid of the bacteria that are sat on them.
And we need to cut out the sugar. This isn’t easy because there is sugar in a lot of food. The foods with the most sugar are things like chocolate, sweets, fizzy drinks and biscuits. You should not have food like this every day. It’s important not to snack on sugary treats all of the time and instead have less sugary snacks like carrot or toast.
Your dentist is here to help. You should go to the dentist so that they can check your teeth are clean and check that bacteria are not causing mischief. If you haven’t been to the dentist before, ask your parents to take you.