Teeth decay over time because of standard wear and tear, but also because of poor oral health care. But we’re here to help you with these tips to help you prevent tooth decay and keep your teeth healthy for a lifetime! As tooth decay occurs, the tooth’s enamel breaks down and then the tooth’s dentin layer breaks down.
Enamel is the outer layer of your tooth and the dentin is the internal layer. Once this destruction occurs, the pulp of your tooth is exposed and can be damaged. This is when a patient comes to us for a root canal treatment and requires a filling. To avoid this breakdown of your tooth and keep your mouth healthy, there are several preventive steps that you can take at home.
#1: Brush Your Teeth Daily
This is a common sense practice, but many people forget to brush their teeth daily or barely brush their teeth at all. Brushing your teeth should start in the morning when you wake up and should occur 1-2 times throughout the day (afternoon and before bed, if possible). Use a fluoride toothpaste to help protect the tooth’s enamel. When you brush your teeth, brush slowly in small circular movements and set a timer for 2 minutes. Make sure that you gently brush your gums and the sides of your teeth as well as the tops. We also recommend purchasing a travel toothbrush and travel sized toothpaste to bring with you during the day. A quick brush at work after lunch can help prevent tooth decay.
Another recommended preventive tip is to floss your teeth daily. Yes, daily. Your oral health benefits from flossing because it is easy for food to get trapped in between your teeth. When food sits in between your teeth, it begins to build plaque and plaque leads to tartar, which leads to tooth decay. This process can occur quickly and creates numerous cavities. At Midway Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, we provide free floss after each teeth cleaning for our patients to help prevent tooth decay. Floss is inexpensive and can easily be purchased at any standard convenience store. We also recommend the floss picks for patients who do not like flossing. Floss picks are easy to use and already the perfect shape for flossing.
#3: Eat Nutritious Foods and Avoid Sugar
Sugar is similar to cancer for teeth. Sugars stick to teeth and are difficult to remove with brushing and flossing. Over time, the sugary foods begin to break down your teeth. This is one of the reasons why it is important to get yearly dental cleanings because dentists can remove plaque and tartar from your teeth during your cleaning. If you eat particularly sugary foods or foods high in carbohydrates, we recommend brushing your teeth after the meal. This is also true for sticky foods such as hard candies. Fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins are great for your teeth as well as your body.
#4: Ask About Dental Sealants
Another way to prevent tooth decay is to ask your dentist about dental sealants. Dental sealants can be placed on your teeth to protect them from sticky and sugary foods. Most often, a dentist will place dental sealants on the molars (back teeth) where most of the chewing occurs. This sealant is simply a protective coating and will last approximately ten years. Many children and adults can benefit from adult sealants to add a protective barrier to their teeth. Dental sealants are relatively inexpensive and are often covered by dental insurance providers.
#5: Try Sugarless Gum as a New Snack
You might have heard that chewing gum is bad for you. It’s excess sugar and it sticks to your teeth. However, sugarless gum can actually help clean your teeth by limiting the amount of bacteria present in your mouth. In fact, the American Dental Association has said that chewing sugarless gum after a meal can help prevent oral decay. Why? “The physical act of chewing increases salivary flow in the mouth,” notes the ADA and this helps limit the acids left over from breaking down food. Glee Gum, Thrive Market Gum and Pur gum are healthy sugarless gum options we recommend.
For more information, please contact Midway Family and Cosmetic Dentistry. We are located in Alpharetta, GA and serve the greater Cumming, GA, Alpharetta, GA, Forsythe County, GA and Atlanta, GA areas. Preventing tooth decay can help you keep your natural teeth in old age and avoid extensive dental work. Keep your mouth healthy and stay on top of your oral health with regular dental cleanings and these preventative tips.