An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and preventive measures can be lifesavers when it comes to dental health and wellness. Dental cavities – otherwise known as tooth decay – are one of the most common, preventable conditions among Americans of all ages.
Tooth decay causes the erosion of the tooth’s enamel; bacteria in plaque produce acids which attack the enamel, causing it to break down. But, with a little effort, the following tips can help anyone avoid the pain and discomfort caused by tooth decay.
Supplemental fluorides can be used to strengthen teeth. Fluoride is a mineral found in naturally in the earth, and artificially in drinking water. It can protect against tooth decay by strengthening the enamel, resisting acids, and preventing erosion. Fluoride is found in toothpastes, mouth rinses, and in therapies provided by your dentist.
Dental sealants are a protective coating that is applied to the surface of the premolars and molars in the back of the mouth, where decay often starts. Sealants are painted onto the tooth enamel where it bonds, forming a protective shell, keeping food and bacteria out of the tooth’s crevices.
Brush and Floss
Brushing and flossing regularly are two of the most effective at-home methods of fighting tooth decay and gum disease. Debris can be removed from teeth by thoroughly cleaning the surface of the teeth and gums at least twice a day.
Flossing will remove food particles found in between the teeth and along the gum line. Dentists are able to provide guidance and instruction on how to properly brush and floss – be sure to ask for a demonstration if needed!
You are what you eat, and in the case of dental cravities, sugar and acids contribute to bad bacteria thriving. Eating a nutritious and balanced diet, limiting snacks and sugary foods, and avoiding carbohydrates that break down into sugars will help avoid tooth decay. If eating snacks or sugary foods is unavoidable, brushing afterward helps to remove the bacteria that has settled on your teeth and gums.
Regular Dental Checkups
As effective as all other solutions may be, the best thing for teeth is a professional cleaning and examination. Dentists are able to remove surface plaque and tartar from the teeth and gums, and they can spot any developing issues before they become problematic. In addition to preventing and spotting dental cavities, an oral exam allows dentists to look for signs of other illnesses, including gum disease and cancerous lesions.