Preventing Tooth Decay and Cavities

A healthy, beautiful smile doesn’t happen without work, so you need to be proactive against tooth decay. Why? Bacteria with an acidic residue begins to decay your teeth, which turns into dental cavities. If left untreated, a cavity can spread and lead to bigger problems that will affect the health and appearance of your smile. To avoid many problems, DentalWorks in Columbus, OH offers you ideas on how to protect your teeth from decay. These ten basic tips are an easy way to keep your teeth healthy and beautiful.

To avoid tooth decay, you should be flossing and brushing your teeth at least two times a day. You know this, but if you are not doing it, you’re allowing tooth decay to live on your teeth and attack them. And while quantity is important when it comes to brushing and flossing, you also have to make sure you are doing it correctly. During visits to DentalWorks in Columbus, OH, we demonstrate proper flossing and brushing techniques to all of our patients so they can be effective with their daily home oral care routine. Ask your dentist for recommendations on what products you should use to get your teeth cleaner. For example, if you’re using a manual toothbrush, you may be surprised at how clean and bright your teeth will be when you switch to an electric toothbrush. Also, you should check to see that your toothpaste is formulated with fluoride because…

Fluoride treatments are not just for kids. A lot of dentists offer professional fluoride treatments for children starting at six years old until they are about 16 – 18 years old. However, if you are prone to tooth decay, a professional fluoride treatment may be very beneficial. A simple way to expose your teeth to fluoride every day is by drinking tap, not bottled, water. Check with your city water department to find out if your water supply has fluoride in it and if so, how much. The American Dental Association (ADA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service recommend 0.7 mL of fluoride in every liter of water. If your tap water doesn’t have optimal fluoride levels, ask about fluoride treatments at your next appointment at the dentist. DentalWorks in Columbus, OH offers in-office treatments as well as prescription fluoride mouthwash and tablets.

You can’t always catch tooth decay and cavities in the early stages. This is why it’s important to make sure you get an annual oral exam at your dentist, so they can use digital x-rays to check dental health. Dental x-rays show the interior and soft areas of your teeth, which makes it easier for your dentist to spot both developing tooth decay and existing cavities. This allows your dentist to quickly repair cavities with a tooth-colored filling or other restoration. They can also recommend preventive treatments, like fluoride and sealants, to reverse the tooth decay and avoid a cavity.

Eating and drinking sugary foods and drinks between meals without brushing your teeth and flossing can put you at higher risk for developing tooth decay. Tooth decay starts with an acidic bacteria that is found in food and drinks with a high sugar content, such as candy, juices, and soft drinks. Since a large amount of sugar is not great for your general health either, it is smart to minimize their consumption in your everyday diet. If you do eat or drink something with a lot of sugar, it’s best to brush your teeth afterward. This will help to remove the acid and bacteria before it becomes a cavity.

Even if you and your family are very busy with school, work, social events, and sports, your dental visits for exams and cleanings are important. Your oral health is dependent on knowing what is going on inside your mouth. In every visit, your hygienist and dentist will assess the health of your teeth, gums, and jaw. The faster dental problems are addressed, the more treatment options you will have, which are usually less invasive. For example, early signs of tooth decay can be reversed with proactive treatment, like a professional fluoride rinse or sealants. If you don’t do either of these, the decay can develop into a cavity, which can usually be fixed with a simple tooth-colored filling. However, if the cavity is left untreated and gets bigger, you’ll need a larger restoration, like an inlay, onlay, or crown. If you keep ignoring the cavity, it can grow until it reaches the inner pulp of your tooth and you’ll need a root canal. If you still don’t get the infection treated, the whole tooth will need to be extracted before your other teeth, gums, and jaw all become infected. And if you still don’t get it treated, the infection can get into your blood and reach every part of your body. So, do yourself a favor and go to your dentist to avoid painful problems started by tooth decay.

When you need extra help preventing cavities, a dental sealant can be applied to help protect it from decay. Made from a flexible plastic material, sealants can be placed over your molars and premolars in the back of your mouth. Since the rough surface of your back teeth can hide bacteria, sealants are designed to minimize the risk of cavities where they are most likely to form. Sealants can be applied in a single appointment to protect your back teeth for a long time. Sealants are generally recommended for children since they tend to have inconsistent oral care routines, but adults can also get sealants if they are prone to tooth decay.

Be aware of what you’re doing with your teeth. A lot of people tend to use their teeth to open something, pull apart Legos, and basically use their teeth when they don’t want to take the time to get the right tool. This is a fast way to damage and weaken your enamel. Cracks, chips, and fractures in your teeth from the damage you do can make it easier for tooth decay to progress since your enamel is already weak. So, before you decide it’s easier to use your teeth instead of finding a pair of scissors, consider the long-term consequences and costs.

In case you notice any of the symptoms of tooth decay, you should go to your dentist. Most often, the first sign of tooth decay is persistent tooth sensitivity. They’ll be a sharp pain when you consume something that’s hot, cold, or sweet. Advanced tooth decay can cause toothaches, trouble chewing, discoloration (black, brown, or white stains), and finally, visible pits and holes. If a visit to the dentist seems worse than your symptoms because of fear and anxiety, contact our office in Columbus, OH to ask about sedation dentistry. In addition to advanced equipment and techniques to make dental procedures more effective and less invasive, DentalWorks in Columbus, OH offers different levels of sedation to make sure you feel calm and relaxed.

If you want your children to have healthy gums and teeth, you should practice what you preach. Brushing and flossing need to be a part of every family’s members routine. If you aren’t brushing, your children are less likely to brush. If you’re not watching them brush (especially until the age of 7 – 10 years old), then your kid(s) may be brushing incorrectly or not at all. Encouraging good oral health habits and setting a good example are a good way for you to avoid tooth decay (in both you and your family). And make sure you and your whole family go to the dentist every six months to get oral health exams and professional cleanings.

In case you didn’t understand the importance of brushing, we’re saying it again because it’s worth repeating. The best thing you can do for your teeth is brush and floss after every meal. Have a spare toothbrush in your bag that you can take to work or school. Buy a travel size toothpaste and toothbrush for your child to carry in his or her backpack. Don’t forget the floss. By taking the initiative to frequently brush and floss your teeth, you can avoid tooth decay and bigger oral health problems. To better avoid decay, make an appointment at DentalWorks in Columbus, OH. After an exam, we can offer recommendations to reduce your risk of developing tooth decay.