TOP 10 WAYS TO PREVENT TOOTH DECAY
If you want to keep your smile healthy and bright, you need to actively fight against tooth decay. Why? Certain types of bacteria in your mouth leave an acid residue that begins to decay the outer enamel of your teeth, which turns into dental cavities. If left untreated, a cavity can lead to infected pulp and other issues that will affect the appearance and health of your smile. To avoid many problems, DentalWorks in Austin, TX offers you advice on how to prevent tooth decay. These ten basic tips are an easy way to keep your teeth both healthy and beautiful.
10. BRUSH, BRUSH, THEN BRUSH AGAIN
You should be brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day. You know this, but if you aren’t doing it, you’re making it easy for tooth decay to live on your teeth and attack them. And while quantity is important when it comes to brushing and flossing, you also have to focus on quality. During visits to DentalWorks in Austin, TX, we demonstrate proper techniques to all of our patients so they can be effective with their home oral care routine. Ask your dentist for recommendations on what products you should use to get your teeth cleaner on a daily basis. For example, if you’re using a manual toothbrush, you may be surprised at how much better your teeth look and feel when you switch to an electric toothbrush. Also, make sure that your toothpaste is formulated with fluoride because...
9. FIGHT WITH FLUORIDE
Fluoride treatments are not just for kids. Most dentists recommend professional fluoride treatments for children starting at six years old until they are about 16 – 18 years old. However, sometimes when adults are prone to cavity development, a professional fluoride treatment may be very beneficial for the health of your teeth. One of the easiest ways to expose your teeth to fluoride every day is by drinking tap, not bottled, water. Check with your city water department to find out if your water supply has fluoride in it and if so, how much. The American Dental Association (ADA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service recommend 0.7 mL of fluoride in every liter of water. If your tap water doesn't have optimal fluoride levels, ask about fluoride treatments at your next visit. DentalWorks in Austin, TX offers in-office treatments as well as prescription fluoride mouthwash and tablets that can be used at home.
8. LEARN MORE WITH X-RAYS
You can't always see or feel tooth decay and cavities in the early stages. This is why it’s important to get an annual exam at your dentist, so they can use digital x-rays to check the health of your teeth. An x-ray can reveal what’s going on beneath the surface of your teeth, which makes it easier for your dentist to spot both existing cavities and areas of developing decay. This allows your dentist to quickly treat cavities before they become bigger issues with a tooth-colored filling or other restoration. They can also recommend preventive treatments, like professional fluoride rinses and dental sealants, to stop tooth decay from becoming a cavity.
7. MORE SUGAR, MORE BACTERIA
Eating sugary foods between meals without brushing your teeth and flossing can increase your chances of developing tooth decay. The acidic bacteria that causes tooth decay is found in food and drinks with a high sugar content, like sodas, juices, and candy. Since these high sugar foods are not great for your overall health either, it is best to eliminate or limit their consumption in your everyday diet. If you do eat or drink something with a lot of sugar, it’s best to brush your teeth as soon as possible. This will help to remove the acid and bacteria before it can impact your dental health.
6. CALL IN THE PROFESSIONALS
Even if you and your family are extremely busy with school, work, social events, and sports, your dental cleanings and exams are appointments you do not want to miss. Your oral health is dependent on knowing what is going on inside your mouth. At a dental cleaning and exam, your hygienist and dentist can not only clean your teeth, but they can also detect problems. The earlier dental problems are diagnosed, the more treatment options you will have, which are usually less invasive. For example, early signs of tooth decay can be treated with a professional fluoride treatment or sealants. If it develops into a cavity, it can usually be treated with a simple tooth-colored filling. However, if the cavity is left untreated and gets bigger, you’ll need a larger restoration, like an inlay, onlay, or crown. If you still don’t get the cavity treated, it can infect the inner pulp of your tooth and you’ll need a root canal. If you still don’t get the infection treated, the whole tooth will need to be extracted before the infection spreads to your other teeth. And if you still don’t get it treated, the infection can get into your bloodstream and affect your whole body. So, do yourself a favor and go to your dentist for an annual exam to avoid time-consuming and expensive problems started by tooth decay.
5. SEAL IT OUT
To prevent cavities, a dental sealant can be applied to the teeth to help protect it from 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 can trap and hide bacteria, sealants help to protect your teeth where cavities are most likely to develop. Sealants can be applied quickly and they protect your teeth for years. Sealants are commonly recommended for children since they may not have developed good oral hygiene habits yet, but 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 tend to use their teeth to open things, pull apart Legos, and basically 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 in your teeth from the damage you do can enable the growth of tooth decay as you have weakened your teeth. So, before you decide it’s easier to use your teeth instead of finding a pair of scissors, consider the long-term consequences and costs.
3. LOOK FOR SIGNS
As soon as you see or feel the signs of tooth decay, you should visit a dental office for treatment. One of the earliest signs of tooth decay is persistent tooth sensitivity. You will feel a sharp pain when you eat or drink something that’s hot, cold, or sweet. Other signs as tooth decay progresses include toothaches, trouble chewing, discoloration (brown, black, or white stains), and finally, visible pits and holes. If pain isn’t enough to get you into the dentist because of fear and anxiety, contact our office in Austin, TX to ask about sedation options. In addition to the latest equipment and techniques to make dental procedures more effective and less invasive, DentalWorks in Austin, TX offers different levels of sedation to keep you calm and relaxed during your appointment.
2. BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL
If you want your children to 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 (especially until the age of 7 – 10 years old), then your kid(s) may be brushing incorrectly or not at all. 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. Buy a travel size toothpaste and toothbrush for your child to carry in his or her backpack. Don't forget the floss. By taking the initiative to routinely brush and floss your teeth, you may save yourself from tooth decay and the problems it can cause. To better avoid tooth decay, schedule an appointment at DentalWorks in Austin, TX. After a thorough dental exam, we can offer personalized recommendations to improve your oral health.