How to Prevent Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is also referred to as caries or dental cavities. It describes permanent damage to the hard outer surface of your teeth that results in holes or tiny openings. Research shows that nine in ten adults in the U.S. have ever had cavities, so this makes tooth decay one of the most common health problems people of all ages face. Should you, therefore, resign to having this problem as part of your reality? Our dental care experts at 4th Street Family Dentistry in St. Petersburg FL don’t think so and urge you to implement the following recommendations to keep tooth decay at bay.
Brush Properly, Regularly and Using the Right Toothbrush
The simplest things, like brushing correctly and frequently, can have the most profound positive effect on your dental and overall health.
Dr. Brian Leeson, a dentist in St. Petersburg FL, explains that there are millions of microbes in your mouth. These microbes feed on the remains of what you eat or drink. As the bacteria feeds, it creates an acidic biofilm (plaque) that sticks on your teeth. If you don’t brush regularly (at least two times every day), dental plaque will allow bacteria to remain in contact with your teeth for longer and tooth decay will progress rapidly.
It is therefore important for you to brush correctly using the right toothbrush (a soft-bristled one) using fluoride toothpaste for a minimum of two times each day. This way the plaque-formation process can be halted.
Floss Every Day
Brushing is often inadequate in cleaning the spaces between your teeth. An interdental cleaner, such as dental floss, is necessary to get rid of the food debris trapped in these tiny spaces between your teeth. When done correctly, flossing can prevent cavities since bacteria will not have any food to feed on and grow.
Cut Back on Acidic and Sugary Drinks
We have already mentioned that bacteria feeds on the residues of what you put in your mouth. Acidic and sugary drinks are the worst culprits in terms of allowing bacteria colonies to multiply rapidly.
For this reason, St. Pete dentists recommend that you reduce the amount of sugary or acidic drinks you consume. These substances include soda, citrus juice, and alcohol. Such a step will save your teeth from being attacked by the acids in those drinks or the acidic residues left behind.
Proper nutrition is important in keeping tooth decay and other dental health problems at bay. For example, the vitamins and minerals that are contained in vegetables, fruits, dairy, and other food groups will provide the nutrients needed to mineralize your teeth. This means your teeth are more likely to fight off any infections that develop.
In the same vein, emergency dentists in St. Petersburg advise that you refrain from snacking frequently between meals. This is especially true if you like sugary snacks. Those snacks keep sugar on your teeth and that results in acidic damage to the surface of those teeth.
Visit Your Dentist
It is very important for you to visit your dentist in St. Petersburg FL regularly for dental cleanings and checkups.
A comprehensive exam by a St. Pete dentist will rate your tooth decay risk. That assessment will determine how frequently you need to visit 4th Street Family Dentistry. For example, if an existing medical condition increases your risk for tooth decay, Dr. Brian Leeson may recommend you come in every three or four months. If, however, your risk for cavities is low, then the frequency of visiting a general dentist in St. Petersburg FL will be lower.
The other advantage of visiting the dentist regularly is that the hygienist will have an opportunity to advise you on how to tweak your brushing and flossing techniques. This would be in light of any potential problem areas that are observed during the professional dental cleanings. Acting on the advice given will result in a reduced risk for tooth decay.
Get Dental Sealants
Another key way to reduce the chance of developing tooth decay is by getting dental sealants placed on the chewing surfaces of your back teeth. The sealant forms a protective shield that prevents acids and bacteria from damaging the teeth. Dr. Beth Herko, a dentist in New Providence NJ, says that while dental sealants are very common among kids, people of all ages, including adults, can benefit from them.
If you are particularly prone to tooth decay, the St. Pete dentist may recommend an antimicrobial mouthwash. You can use this on a daily basis to keep bacterial activity minimal in your mouth. Even without a specific recommendation, you can buy an antibacterial over-the-counter mouthwash. Use this to rinse your mouth at home after brushing and flossing.
Chew Sugar-Free Gum
Sugar-free gum is helpful in fighting to keep cavities at bay. This gum helps increase the production of saliva in your mouth, thereby neutralizing any acids quickly. Saliva also regulates the pH levels in your mouth. This means that it gets harder for bacteria to thrive there. Buy sugarless gum that has the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval.
You don’t have to fight tooth decay on your own. We are here to help, so don’t hesitate to contact 4th Street Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment for a complete evaluation. Your healthy smile is just a call away!