Tooth decay is the destruction of tooth structure and can affect both the dentin and the enamel of the tooth. It occurs when food particles are left on the teeth and then digested by the bacteria that lives in the mouth. The food particles are turned into acids. This combines with the bacteria, food, and saliva to form plaque that clings to the teeth. Plaque breaks down the enamel on your teeth, creating holes called cavities.
Though tooth decay is very common, most forms of tooth decay are preventable. Here are some great ways to prevent tooth decay.
Perhaps the most obvious, brushing your teeth at least twice a day is the best way to prevent tooth decay. By brushing after you’ve eaten, and especially before bed, you can easily disrupt the plaque that forms on your teeth as you brush away the food particles in your mouth. This prevents the formation of acid that can wear away at your enamel.
While most of us don’t floss nearly as often as we should, flossing nightly is highly recommended. By flossing between your teeth, you can dislodge food particles sitting between your teeth that you couldn’t reach by brushing alone.
It’s also important to rinse daily with mouthwash, preferably one that contains fluoride. This mouthwash coats your teeth while you sleep to provide long-lasting protection against tooth decay.
Besides mouthwash, you should also use toothpaste that has fluoride in it. Fluoride helps harden the outer enamel surface of teeth to help them resist decay. You can also ask us about supplemental fluoride at your next appointment.
You are what you eat. By eating nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables, you can help prevent decay. Snacks like candy, pretzels, and chips remain on the tooth’s surface and should be avoided as much as possible. If you have to indulge, be sure to rinse with water after you finish eating, and brush your teeth, if possible.
Regular Dental Cleanings & Exams
The cornerstone of good dental hygiene, regular cleanings and exams are vital tools to preventing tooth decay. You should be visiting us at least twice a year for routine checkups.
If you think you might be suffering from tooth decay, or if you simply need to schedule a cleaning be sure to call us. At Grafton Dental Care, we are dedicated to providing you with the best dental care.Contact Us