Tooth decay also known as ‘dental caries’ or ‘tooth cavity’ is the permanent destruction of the tooth, resulting in discoloration or systematic fracture of the tooth/teeth. By learning how to prevent tooth decay, you can ensure that teeth remain healthy over time.
Why Does Tooth Decay Occur?
Tooth decay occurs as a result of an interaction between food, bacteria, and teeth. The longer food particles stay on the surface of the tooth, the greater is the risk of decay.
Who Can Be Affected By Tooth Decay?
Interestingly, people of all ages can be affected, though tooth decay in children is more common owing to the greater intake of candies and chocolates. Also, any tooth in the mouth is susceptible to decay.
Can A Decayed Tooth Be Treated?
Yes, definitely. There are many tooth decay treatment options available for countering the problem, including root canal treatment. However, it is of significance to state that learning how to prevent tooth decay is far more important than treating it.
How To Prevent Tooth Decay
Here are some extremely simple tips that can show you how to prevent tooth decay.
Maintain Oral Hygiene
If you’re wondering how to prevent tooth decay, remember this – always start with the basics. Firstly, you should take good care of your teeth and maintain proper oral hygiene.
- Brush twice a day. This will help in removing all external germs and bacteria from your teeth.
- Floss daily. Flossing removes food particles from between your teeth and under the gumline, where a toothbrush cannot always reach.
- Rinse your mouth after every meal, especially after you eat sticky foods.
Monitor Your Diet
Once you’ve got the basics covered, there are some dietary regulations you should know about, to learn how to prevent tooth decay.
- Always consume chewy, sticky foods (such as dried fruit or candy) as part of a meal rather than as a snack.
- Minimize snacking, as this creates a constant supply of acid in the mouth for the bacteria to act upon.
- Avoid sipping sugary drinks constantly or frequent sucking on candy and mints.
Use Fluoride In Some Form
Understanding the importance of fluoride can help you prevent tooth decay.
- A salt of fluoride, like sodium fluoride, can be added to the community water supply in order to reduce tooth decay. Some toothpastes also come with fluorides.
- It has been demonstrated that people who ingest fluoride in their drinking water have fewer risks of dental caries.
- Fluoride, when ingested while the teeth are developing, is incorporated into the structure of the enamel (outermost layer of the tooth) and protects it against the action of acids.
- Many dentists include the application of fluoride solutions (applied to a localized area of the teeth) as part of routine visits.
Use Dental Sealants
Ask your dentist how to prevent tooth decay, and the very first option you’ll get will be dental sealants. These are thin protective plastic-like coatings that can prevent cavities to a certain degree.
Sealants are applied to the chewing surface of the molars by the dentist. This coating prevents the accumulation of plaque (thin naturally forming film of mucus and bacteria deposited on the teeth that encourages the development of tooth decay) on these vulnerable surfaces.
Dentist generally apply the sealant on the teeth of children, shortly after the molars erupt. However, older people may also benefit from their use.
Use Mouth Rinses
It is not enough to rinse your mouth with water. According to the American Dental Association, you can use a mouth rinse containing fluoride to help prevent tooth decay.
Keep Your Mouth Wet
A dry mouth can contribute to tooth decay, as studies have shown. You can end up with a dry mouth due to the decreased flow of saliva (maybe due to medical reasons), and this in turn contributes to tooth decay.
Artificial saliva products, lozenges, gels and sprays are available in the market, and these can help you keep your mouth moist during all times. Ask your dentist for advice and recommendations before you choose any dental products.
Get Fillings And Crowns Regularly
To learn how to prevent tooth decay, you should always watch out for tooth decay symptoms and keep in touch with your dentist. Fillings and crowns in slightly affected areas can help prevent further decay.
- Under filling, the decayed areas are cleaned and the defected areas are restored or filled with a plastic like material.
- If you have extensive decay or weakened teeth, you may need a crown (cap) rather than a filling. A crown is a covering that replaces your tooth’s form that is visible in the mouth.
When the inner part of your tooth (pulp) is decayed, you may need a root canal treatment to prevent pain and extensive infection. In this procedure, the tooth pulp is removed and replaced with a filling.
To know how to prevent tooth decay, you should constantly stay in touch with your dentist and should go for regular check-ups. Your dentist will examine your teeth, professionally clean them, and recognize any sign of decay instantly.