There are several reasons why a tooth may begin to decay. Poor oral hygiene, accidental damage to the enamel, lack of fluoride, and many other factors can lead to tooth decay.
Early detection is important when it comes to tooth decay. If you are experiencing pain while chewing, your teeth appear to be discolored, or you have prolonged unexplained toothaches, tooth decay could be the culprit. The discomfort should be dealt with as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the tooth.
Ways to Prevent Tooth Decay
Daily Brushing and Flossing
As always, the easiest way to prevent tooth decay starts at home. Brushing your teeth properly twice a day goes a long way to removing harmful bacteria and preventing cavities. Following that up with flossing also aids in good oral health. By removing plaque before it causes damage, your tooth enamel will stay stronger, and your teeth and gums will remain healthier.
Be careful with foods and drinks that may harm teeth.
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but too much fruit juice can actually harm your enamel. The acids found in these drinks wear away the enamel, even those drinks that have little to no sugar. Acidic drinks such as wine can also affect tooth enamel. Some of the most damaging drinks are those that are acidic as well as being carbonated and high in sugar. Examples of these are sodas and sports and energy drinks.
As far as eating, avoid sugary and sticky foods as much as possible. These foods can remain on your teeth for several hours, damaging the enamel. Crunchy chips can also damage the enamel and particles can be left behind in the grooves of the teeth. Be sure to floss to remove food particles between the teeth. Chewing ice cubes and other hard foods can damage enamel and cause teeth to crack or break.
Here’s an interesting side note: it is recommended to not brush your teeth immediately after eating or drinking high acidic substances. Because the enamel has been softened by these products, you could be causing more damage. Wait at least 30 minutes.
Regular Visits to the Dentist
You may be able to get away with occasionally skipping brushing and flossing, but avoiding the dentist for too long can be problematic, and lead to more visits to the dentist.
In addition to providing professional cleaning, we also use this time to inspect your teeth and overall oral health. Dentists can take appropriate action once decay is detected
Fluoride treatments can come in many different forms, including tablets, mouthwashes, fluoride toothpaste, and as part of your professional dental cleaning during your dental visit. In fact, fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral in the human body. There are many over the counter treatments available, although stronger treatments need a prescription.
Pit and fissure dental sealants are often applied to teeth in order to seal the deep grooves and pits on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This procedure is used for children, teenagers, and young adults when they are often more prone to developing cavities. Sealants can be beneficial at any age, however.
Used as a preventative measure, a resin is applied to the chewing surface of the tooth. This fills in the deep pits and grooves and bonds to the teeth. Any existing damage to the tooth needs to be addressed before applying sealants. In some cases, sealants aren’t used if more invasive measures are necessary.
At Creekside Dental, we check the health of your teeth during every cleaning and address any problems you may be having. We have been providing cosmetic and general dental services to Vancouver families for more than 25 years. Having issues with your teeth? Set up an appointment today!