Tooth decay is a common ailment that often goes unnoticed. It affects up to 90% of the population. Many people are not aware of the warning signs or adverse consequences that tooth decay can bring. You can help protect yourself and your family from the dangers of tooth decay by practicing proper oral care, routinely visiting the dentist, and preventing bacterial growth in the mouth.
How Do Cavities Form?
A cavity is formed when plaque builds up and hardens on the surface of the tooth. This plaque is home to large amounts of bacteria, which gradually break down the enamel on our teeth. Enamel is important because it protects our teeth from acids and bacteria. If this plaque is not removed, the bacteria can eat through all of the enamel and eventually gnaw away at the innermost layers of our teeth. This can eventually lead to the complete loss of teeth.
How To Prevent Cavities
1. Brush Your Teeth
While this may seem like an obvious hygienic practice, you’d be surprised at how many first-time dental patients don’t brush their teeth as much as they should, or with the proper techniques. Make sure you are brushing your teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes, and reaching the fronts, sides, and backs of all of your teeth.
2. Floss, Floss, Floss
Food debris and plaque gets built up between your teeth when you eat. Make sure to floss your teeth at least twice a day, once in the morning and once at night before you go to bed. Ideally, you should floss after every meal. Make flossing more accessible by keeping handy floss picks or regular dental floss in your purse or car console.
3. Use An Oral Rinse
This is another obvious one, but many people don’t use an oral rinse in their everyday dental routine. Use an antimicrobial oral rinse once nightly. This will help keep your mouth clean of bacteria that can cause plaque, gum disease, and bad breath.
4. Quit Smoking
If you smoke tobacco, you know the serious health risks associated with this habit. Smoking negatively affects almost every single part of the body, and your teeth are no exception. Smoking can lead to tooth loss, stained teeth, gum disease, and even oral cancer. Consider cutting back on smoking and create a plan to quit at: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/quit_smoking/how_to_quit/index.htm.
5. Watch What You Eat, And Drink!
Who doesn’t love ice cream and red wine? While these things can surely be enjoyed in moderation, they can wreak havoc on your oral health. Consider limiting your consumption of sugary drinks, acidic foods, coffee, and alcohol. Instead, choose healthy foods like vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Drinking at least 64 oz of water a day is not only good for proper hydration, but actually cleans your mouth of leftover food debris, strengthens teeth with fluoride, and reduces dry mouth. This all aids in decreasing the likelihood of cavity formation.
6. Visit your dentist
Perhaps the most important tip for preventing cavities, making dental visits a part of your routine. We all know visiting the dentist isn’t the most enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, but it’s a necessary evil. Regular check-ups allow for cavity detection. Your dentist can identify at-risk teeth during an examination, and provide sealants and/or treatment plans to ensure a cavity doesn’t form. During dental cleanings, your hygienist will remove tartar and plaque buildup that you just can’t get rid of with regular brushing and flossing. We recommend visiting your dentist at least every 6 months, to keep your mouth healthy.
Schedule a Consultation
At Greenspoint Dental, we’ve been practicing quality general dentistry for over 20 years, and are currently accepting new patients. Whether you’re considering visiting us for the first time or if you want a second opinion about a treatment, we offer free consultations. We specialize in general, orthodontic, and cosmetic dentistry and prioritize learning and adopting innovative care techniques. Our dental team is here to make your first visit comfortable and easy, so please reach out to us and let us get you on the books!