How Do I Prevent Tooth Decay?
When you think about going to the dentist, your immediate thought is likely a basic cleaning. Routine dental care is important for keeping healthy teeth and gums as well as a bright, shining smile. But how do you ensure you can prevent tooth decay and cavities?
Teeth are protected with enamel, and it is important to care for that protective layer. When bacteria builds up in your mouth (and subsequently on your teeth), acid is produced that can gradually break down the enamel layer, resulting in tooth decay. When left untreated, tooth decay can result in serious dental complications over time.
Preventative dental care could be the difference between a routine appointment and a filling, crown, or other more involved dental procedure. Focusing on preventative dental care can help you to avoid common dental health issues like cavities, gingivitis, gum disease, and tooth decay. Keep your smile clean, healthy, and beautiful with these tips to prevent tooth decay.
Maintain Regular Brushing and Flossing
One of the most obvious ways to take care of your teeth is by brushing and flossing daily. While it may seem like a basic effort in taking care of your oral health, brushing and flossing are your first lines of defense in the fight against tooth decay.
Flossing helps to get in those hard-to-reach places in between teeth and below the gumline where buildup can occur. If left untouched, food and plaque buildup can leave behind bacteria and increase the chances of tooth decay occurring.
Maintaining proper brushing and flossing techniques and hitting even the hard-to-reach areas and gum lines will contribute to preventative oral care. Brushing two to three times per day and making it a part of your daily routine from an early age will help keep the consistency going for a lifetime of clean and healthy teeth and gums.
Consider Fluoride Treatments and Sealants
Preventative dental care goes beyond the basics of brushing and flossing your teeth on a daily basis. During regular dental appointments, other preventative measures will be taken to keep tooth decay at bay, such as fluoride treatments and sealants.
A naturally-occurring mineral, fluoride can help to rebuild enamel and prevent tooth decay. Most, if not all, kinds of toothpaste contain a percentage of fluoride to help in the fight against plaque, bacteria, and tooth decay. Professional fluoride treatment, while not necessarily put on as toothpaste, is applied with a brush, swab, or tray. It is recommended that no food or drink be consumed for 30 minutes after the treatment is complete so that the fluoride can be fully absorbed.
Sealants work differently but keep the same goal in mind ─ maintaining a clean, healthy smile. Sealants serve as a protective layer inside those hard-to-reach-places, like molars. Once a sealant is applied to the tooth, it protects the inside of the tooth and serves as a barrier between the tooth and food particles, bacteria, and more.
Cut Down on Sugar
What’s one of the primary culprits when it comes to tooth decay? Sugar. Sugar in moderation is okay, but consider what could happen when your “moderation” becomes a daily habit. If you consume a lot of sugary foods or beverages, you may want to look into cutting them down.
Even naturally-occurring sugars can do damage to your teeth and gums. Bacteria that form in your mouth thrives on sugar and food left behind, making it a haven for more bacteria and the possibility of tooth decay. Cutting back on sugar will “starve” any bacteria, and make it easier for you to maintain good oral health.
Avoid Acidic Foods and Beverages
While most fruits are considered healthy options in comparison to junk food, be wary of how much you are consuming, as well as any beverages you may enjoy. The citric acid (found in oranges, lemons, and other fruits) and phosphoric acid (found in many soft drinks) can sometimes do more harm than good.
Acid can erode the surface of the teeth (or enamel), making it harder to keep your healthy smile intact. Enamel cannot be rebuilt with toothpaste, floss, or professional fluoride treatments. Another problematic result of acid buildup in the mouth is that it can help in the growth of bacteria. Much like sugar, cutting back on acidic foods and beverages can make a big difference in the look and feel of your smile.
Cosmetic and Family Dentistry in the Woodlands
Carrie Muzny DDS offers the highest-quality dental services for our patients in The Woodlands and surrounding areas. Our highly acclaimed dentists are not only exceptionally trained in modern preventative techniques, but also have attained academic honors and continue to refine their craft year after year in preventative dentistry, restorative dentistry, surgical procedures, and cosmetic dentistry.
With our state-of-the-art technology and vast range of smile-perfecting procedures, we stay atop the field and deliver smiles as sunny as the state of Texas!To let us help you get that perfect smile, contact us today. You can even request a virtual consultation!
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