Tooth decay can lead to serious dental problems. The ultimate results can lead to cavities and even extractions. There are easy ways to prevent tooth decay for a healthier, more attractive smile. Find out how to keep your teeth whiter and in better condition for years to come.
What is Tooth Decay?
When we eat and drink, bacteria forms in our mouth. Plaque is a bacteria film that develops on the teeth. Tooth decay can occur and destroy the tooth enamel, which is the shiny outer layer of the teeth. The goal is to prevent tooth decay to avoid cavities that rot the inner layer of your teeth, formally known as dentin. Fortunately, there are simple ways to ward off tooth decay. It takes only a few minutes each day to properly care for your teeth for the best possible oral hygiene.
Brush and Floss Regularly
Brushing your teeth at least twice daily makes a major difference. Dentists usually recommend using a toothpaste that is approved by the American Dental Association. Flossing should be done at least once a day. There are different types of toothbrushes and floss. Ask your dentist which one are best for your mouth. Brushing should be done for at least two minutes. Flossing is a way to get between all your teeth to eliminate plaque that gets trapped in these small spaces. It is best to brush after every meal and right before going to bed.
Some people have fluoride in their water supply and think that is enough to combat tooth decay but it is not. After brushing your teeth, rinse with a fluoride mouthwash. It should take 30 seconds or longer to swish the rinse around your mouth to get to all the surfaces of your teeth. This helps to further eliminate the plaque that leads to tooth decay. Rinsing should be done at least once daily but can also be done every time you brush. Talk to your dentist about supplemental fluoride to see if he thinks it would help make your teeth stronger.
Your Teeth Are What You Eat
The wrong foods can cause the rapid formation of plaque and hasten the rate of tooth decay. For example, sugary foods or ones with high carbohydrates can stick to plaque and start eating away at the enamel on your teeth. Sticky foods are serious culprits, such as caramel candies and sugary chewing gum. Always brush your teeth after eating these types of foods. Try to avoid sugary beverages and brush frequently to eliminate plaque. Healthy foods can also help you build stronger bones and teeth, such as dairy products that contain calcium and vitamin D.
Dentist Help Combat Tooth Decay
Visiting the dentist is one of the best ways to fight tooth decay and address potential issues before they become major problems. Schedule an oral exam and dental cleaning every six months, or more often as recommended by your dentist. During the exam, your dentist will take note of any tooth decay or plaque. Finding problems early can prevent decay, infections, and painful abscesses. This can reduce the possibility of requiring root canal therapy, crowns, and extractions. Ask your dentist about dental sealants to help prevent decay. Sealants are applied to the teeth to minimize the risk of tooth decay.
Brushing and flossing regularly, using fluoride products, and consulting with your dentist every few months can help you prevent tooth decay. These simple steps can also reduce the risk of costly dental procedures that could compromise your smile and budget in the future. Taking proper care of your teeth today keeps them looking and feeling good tomorrow.