Six Dental Care Tips to Prevent and Treat Tooth Decay
Cavities and decay are the common results of poor oral health and hygiene practices. Not brushing regularly and consuming a lot of sugar products are extremely harmful to your teeth. It may even result in tooth loss and chronic gum diseases. Moreover, research has shown a connection between overall health and dental care. For instance, symptoms of systemic conditions like AIDS or diabetes are often visible as mouth lesions or other oral problems. Sometimes, loss of tooth affects the smile of a person and may result in low self-esteem. It may also lead to malnutrition, speech problems, and other issues in a person’s work, school or personal life. You can prevent these problems with proper dental care and precautions. Our staff at Gardner Dental Group is completely committed to helping you.
What Is Tooth Decay?
Cavity or decay refers to the damage to the tooth structure by acids created by plaque bacteria, which break down sugar in your mouth. When left untreated, cavities gradually spread to the inner layers of the tooth causing root cavity. Nerves get exposed and you experience pain whenever you eat or drink. Regular dental care like brushing twice a day and going for regular checkups at the dentists can help in preventing tooth decay.
How to Prevent It?
There are multiple things you can do to prevent cavities. Here are some best practices which will keep your teeth and gums healthy:
1. Brush Properly - The best way to keep the cavities at bay is to keep your teeth clean. You should at least brush twice daily after every meal.
Brushing using the correct technique helps in removing plaque and bacteria. While many people spend about a minute brushing their teeth, you should at a minimum spend three minutes doing so. Brushing before bed is particularly important. When bacteria are allowed to linger overnight on your teeth, they have the greatest chance of damaging your tooth enamel. While brushing, work gently from the gums to the tips of the teeth in small circular motions. Take care to cover the front, back and top of every tooth and avoid scrubbing back-and-forth motions.
Brushing harshly with a hard-bristled toothbrush will do more harm than good. It may permanently damage the protective tooth enamel and result in tooth sensitivity.
Another measure you can take is to use fluoridated toothpaste. Experts believe that fluoride immensely helps in preventing cavities.
2. Floss Once a Day - Flossing removes plaque and bacteria from between the teeth where the toothbrush is unable to reach. By removing trapped debris and food particles, it also helps in preventing bad breath.
Dentists recommend gently pushing the floss all the way down to the gum line before moving it up-and-down at the side of the tooth. Don’t snap the floss between the teeth as it may cause pain and not remove plaque effectively.
3. See a Dentist Regularly - It is highly recommended to see a dentist every six months for a checkup. In a routine dental checkup, teeth can be cleaned and hardened tartar removed. The dentist can check for visual signs of cavities, gum diseases, mouth cancer and other oral health issues. Dental X-rays help in identifying cavities.
Children and adults who see a dentist regularly and practice good dental hygiene are found to have fewer dental problems. You can talk to your dentist about how often to visit them. Depending on your overall health history and age, the frequency may vary.
4. Do Not Smoke - Smoking weakens our immune system, which slows the tissues’ capacity to heal. Smoking after a dental procedure especially slows the healing process. It may even affect your appearance by causing yellow teeth and bad breath.
5. Consider a Mouthwash - Don’t substitute brushing and flossing with a mouthwash, but it can complement your cleaning regime. It contains ingredients like essential oils, which are antibacterial and help in controlling plaque and gingivitis.
6. Avoid sugary food products and beverages – Bacteria that cause cavities feed on sugar and produce acid which damages the tooth structure. You should avoid eating sugar items, especially before sleeping. Try drinking water instead of sugary drinks; an increased intake of water will reduce the acidity in your mouth. Additionally, when starchy substances linger in the mouth for long, saliva breaks it down into simple sugars. If you skip brushing, you won’t be able to remove trapped food particles to mitigate the growth of bacteria.
Eat food and beverages that are healthy for your teeth. Sugar-free gum, unsweetened beverages, fresh fruits and vegetables increase saliva flow, washing away trapped food particles.
Dental Care for Your Children
Care for a child’s primary teeth is also important. If a child loses its baby tooth, the adult tooth may get affected. Follow certain practices to keep your child’s teeth and gum healthy:
• Wipe a baby’s gum with warm water even before they get teeth.
• Don’t allow toddlers to go to bed with milk or juice bottles. Sugar from the food may cause decay while they sleep.
• Brush your children’s teeth twice daily with a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste and a baby toothbrush.
Visit a dentist as soon as possible if anyone in your family experiences the following dental problems:
• Pain which interferes with daily living
• Damaged or broken teeth
• Swelling or pus around the tooth
Don’t leave cavities untreated. Our dentists may help you with a filling or if it is large, it may need a root canal treatment or a crown. Follow oral hygiene practices and prevent tooth decay in the future.