Tips for Preventing Tooth Decay
Tooth decay, otherwise known as dental caries, is the most common chronic childhood illness in America, five times more common than asthma, and the second most prevalent disease in the United States (next to common cold). Because of its prevalence and the fact that cavities can cause infection, pain, gum disease and poor dental health in both children and adults when left untreated, this disease not be taken for granted. Good oral health is an essential part of our everyday lives, which is why preventing tooth decay is of paramount importance if you want to keep those pearly whites for many years to come.
Tooth decay left unchecked can spread from the tooth enamel (the hard outer covering of the tooth) into the softer dentine inside. Tooth decay should be prevented because they can kill the nerve and blood vessels of the tooth, and ultimately the tooth itself. Due to the dramatic increase in sugars in the diet and poor dental hygiene, tooth decay has become one of the most common health complaints worldwide in children and young adults. Fortunately, cavities can be easily prevented.
The best way to keep your teeth in pristine and healthy condition, while preventing tooth decay in the process, is to ensure that you clean them regularly to get rid of any plaque buildup. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, constantly forms on your teeth and produce acids that attack tooth enamel especially when you eat or drink foods containing sugars or starches. Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day is a critical step toward preventing the tooth decay process from continuing to become cavities. Flossing between the teeth is also a good idea for preventing dental caries, as frequent flossing removes the acid plaque from the smooth surfaces between teeth.
Eating the proper foods at the right time during meals and avoiding foods or snacks between meals can also help reduce your risk. Each time you eat, you open up your teeth to an acid attack. By limiting your snacks, you help to reduce the number of acid attacks on your teeth. Eating self-cleaning foods at the end of the meal can also help reduce acid plaque damage to enamel. Apples and celery are good examples as they are crunchy and help sweep away food debris and plaque.
Last but not the least, visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral examination. Cavities and the decay process can be prevented by working closely with your dental professional and following his or her plan for you early on, not to mention small cavities are much easier to treat than advanced decay. Also check with your dentist about use of supplemental fluoride, which strengthens your teeth, and about use of dental sealants (a plastic protective coating) applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (where decay often starts) to protect them from decay. Nothing beats early detection, as it can save you time, trouble, and money which would have otherwise been spent on a full-blown oral health problem.
Proper oral hygiene and attention to what we eat and when we eat can virtually eliminate cavities, but visiting a dentist on a regular basis remains an integral part of preventing cavities. To get a hold of a dentist near you, we at DentistPhone can help you for free. Call us anytime (888) 985-5898 and we'll connect you to a pre-qualified dentist in your area, so you can see for yourself what options are best for you to prevent cavities and maintain your oral health.