Tips for Avoiding Tooth Decay
The breakdown of the tooth structure can affect the enamel and the dentin layers of the tooth. When food remains in the mouth, bacteria feed on it, turning it into acids. The acid combines with saliva, food debris, and bacteria to form plaque. When plaque attaches to your teeth, the acids in it dissolve the surface of your teeth. This leads to decay and creates holes or cavities.
Good oral and dental hygiene can help prevent tooth decay and cavities. Tips for this include:
Brushing Teeth Regularly and Properly
This is the most common tip that many people ignore. You should brush your teeth twice daily. Ideally, after every meal is the best. It removes leftover food, sugar, and starches that bacteria may use to form plaque.
When you do this, use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Apply a little pressure and place your toothbrush at 45 degrees when brushing. Do not forget to brush your tongue as it can still harbor some leftover food. Make sure to replace your toothbrush every three to four months.
Get into the habit of flossing. It only takes a few minutes each day, and you can even multitask when you are doing it. Regular cleaning or brushing only gets to three sides of your teeth. To get to the other two, you need to floss. Start small, then develop a routine that works for you.
Know Your Risk of Getting Cavities
The best way to know this is by getting a comprehensive dental exam. It will help you know where you stand and what treatments you need. You may also need to make some changes in your oral hygiene routine. Sometimes your dentist may even suggest that you change your diet.
Make sure that you make the comprehensive dental exams a regular occurrence. It will help you know if things are improving and lower your risk of getting cavities.
Cut Back on Sugary Food and Drinks
Consuming sugary food and drinks before bedtime raises your chances of getting cavities. Try to keep this practice at a minimum. If you do have something before bedtime, eat it 20-30 minutes before bedtime. If you have a sugary drink, drink some water or just rinse your mouth with it before brushing.
Getting into the habit of drinking water is healthy for your teeth and body. Most public tap water contains fluoride. Fluoride helps reduce tooth decay and cavities significantly. Some kinds of toothpaste also have fluoride in them, so make sure to check as you do your shopping.
Eat Healthy Foods
Cutting back on eating sugary foods and drinks on its own is not enough. Adding fresh vegetables and fruits to your diet increases your saliva flow. Saliva helps wash away the remaining food particles before you brush your teeth.
Smoking and tobacco can lead to tooth decay and cavities. They encourage gum disease that can expose the roots of your teeth, leaving them vulnerable to decay.
For more information on avoiding tooth decay, contact Courthouse Art of Dentistry at our office in Arlington, Virginia. You can call 703-794-3727 today to schedule an appointment.