TOP 10 WAYS TO PREVENT TOOTH DECAY
If you want to keep your smile healthy and bright, you have to actively fight against tooth decay. Why? Certain types of bacteria in your mouth leave an acid residue that starts to erode the outer enamel of your teeth, which becomes cavities. Without treatment, a cavity can lead to infected pulp and other issues that will impact the appearance and health of your smile. To reduce your risk of many issues, DentalWorks in Wake Forest, NC has some advice on how to prevent tooth decay. The following ten simple tips are good ways to help keep your smile both healthy and beautiful.
10. BRUSH, BRUSH, THEN BRUSH AGAIN
You should be brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day. We all know this; however, if you aren’t doing it, you are making it easy for decay to develop and harm your teeth. In addition to how often you are flossing and brushing, you also need to focus on quality. At every visit to our office in Wake Forest, NC, our team will demonstrate proper techniques so our patients can optimize their home oral care routine. You can also ask your dental team for suggestions on products that will make your teeth healthier on a daily basis. As an example, if you are brushing manually with a traditional toothbrush, you will be amazed at how much better your teeth look and feel when you switch to an electric toothbrush. Also, make sure that your toothpaste has fluoride because...
9. FIGHT WITH FLUORIDE
While we think of fluoride treatments as a thing we used to get, they aren't just for children. Most dentists recommend in-office fluoride rinses for younger patients starting around first grade through their late teens. However, sometimes when adults are prone to cavity development, a fluoride treatment can be beneficial for the health of your teeth. One of the easiest ways to get fluoride on your teeth is drinking tap water. Ask your water supplier if your tap water has fluoride and how much. The ADA (American Dental Association) recommends every liter of water have 0.7 mL of fluoride in it. If you aren't getting optimal levels, get information on professional treatments at your next visit. DentalWorks in Wake Forest, NC offers treatments performed in our office plus fluoride tablets and mouthwash that can be used at home.
8. LEARN MORE WITH X-RAYS
It's hard to see or feel tooth decay on your own. This is just one reason why it is so important to get an annual exam at your dentist with x-rays to assess the health of your teeth. An x-ray can reveal what’s going on beneath the surface of your teeth so your dentist can identify existing cavities and areas of developing decay. With this information, your dentist can treat cavities before they become bigger issues with a filling. Your dentist may also suggest proactive treatments, such as professional fluoride rinses and dental sealants, to stop tooth decay from becoming a cavity.
7. MORE SUGAR, MORE BACTERIA
Eating sugary foods without cleaning your teeth can increase your chances of developing tooth decay. The acidic bacteria that causes tooth decay is in drinks and food with a lot of sugar, like sodas, juices, and candy. Since these high sugar foods are not good for your overall health either, it's best to eliminate or limit how much you consume. If you do have something sugary, you should brush as soon as possible. Brushing your teeth can help to eliminate the bacteria before it can impact your dental health.
6. CALL IN THE PROFESSIONALS
Although your family is extremely busy, your dental cleanings and exams are appointments you do not want to miss. The health of your mouth depends on being aware of what's happening in your mouth. At a dental cleaning and exam, your dental team can not only clean your teeth, but they can also detect problems. The earlier issues are diagnosed, you'll have more treatment options, which are typically noninvasive. As an example, when identified early, tooth decay may be treated with a professional fluoride treatment or sealants. If it develops into a cavity, it can be treated with a filling. However, without treatment, the cavity will get bigger and you will require a bigger restoration, such as an onlay, inlay, or dental crown. If you still don’t get the cavity treated, it can infect the pulp inside the tooth and then you will need root canal therapy. Without treatment, an extraction may be needed before the infection spreads to your other teeth. If you still don't seek help, the infection can get into your bloodstream and affect your whole body. So, go to the dentist for an annual exam to avoid time-consuming and expensive issues that start with tooth decay.
5. SEAL IT OUT
To prevent cavities, sealants can be applied to the teeth to reduce the risk of decay. Sealants are a flexible plastic material that can be applied over your back teeth (molars and premolars). Since the tops of your molars are filled with crevices that easily trap and hide bacteria, dental sealants help to protect your teeth where cavities are most likely to develop. Dental sealants can be put on quickly and they protect your teeth for years. Sealants are commonly suggested for younger patients because they may not have developed good oral hygiene habits yet; however, adults who are prone to cavities may also be good candidates for sealants.
4. YOUR TEETH ARE NOT A TOOL
Be mindful of how you use your teeth. Both adults and children use their teeth to open things, pull apart toys, and use their teeth instead of grabbing a tool. This is a really quick way to weaken or damage your teeth. Small chips, cracks, and fractures can enable the growth of tooth decay as you have weakened your teeth. Before you tear open a bag with your teeth rather than getting scissors, think about the future costs and consequences.
3. LOOK FOR SIGNS
As soon as you see or feel the signs of tooth decay, you need to visit a dental office for treatment. One of the earliest signs of tooth decay is chronic tooth sensitivity. You will feel a sharp pain whenever you eat or drink something that is either cold, hot, or sweet. Other signs as tooth decay progresses include trouble chewing, toothaches, discoloration (brown, black, or white spots), and visible holes and pits. If pain isn’t enough to get you into the dentist because of anxiety or fear, ask our office in Wake Forest, NC for more information on sedation options. Along with the latest techniques and equipment to make treatments less invasive and more effective, DentalWorks in Wake Forest, NC offers several types of sedation to keep you relaxed and calm during your appointment.
2. BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL
To make sure your kids have healthy teeth and gums, you need to model good behavior. Make brushing and flossing a part of your family’s daily routine. If you are not brushing, then your kids will not brush. If you are not monitoring their brushing (at least until they are seven years old), then they might not be brushing. Setting a good example and encouraging good oral health habits are all great ways for you to prevent tooth decay (even if it is not your own). And schedule twice yearly visits to the dentist for your whole family to get cleanings and exams.
1. KEEP ON BRUSHING
We will say it again because it is worth repeating. Brush and floss your teeth several times a day. Pack a toothbrush with you to take to work. Get a small toothbrush and travel size toothpaste for your child to use at school. When you take the time to routinely floss and brush, you may save yourself from tooth decay and the problems it can cause. If you want more ideas to help you avoid tooth decay, schedule an appointment at DentalWorks in Wake Forest, NC. After a thorough dental examination, we will offer personalized suggestions to improve your oral health.