Tooth decay is unfortunately common, with 9 out of 10 adults over the age of 20 having some type of tooth decay . Tooth decay, or cavities, happen when the tooth enamel gets worn away or compromised. This can happen due to poor oral hygiene, consuming foods and drinks that are very acidic, or an injury to the tooth.
Bacteria and acids can then create a hole in the vulnerable tooth, which will get worse over time and can eventually lead to tooth infection and tooth loss if left untreated. Although tooth decay is common, the good news is that it can be prevented in most cases. What are the best ways to prevent tooth decay?
Brush and Floss
Taking care of your oral hygiene is one of the best ways to prevent cavities. Brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing once a day can help keep tooth decay away! It’s best to brush first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything, and last thing at night before bed. However, if you’ve just consumed anything other than water, it’s best to avoid brushing your teeth for approximately 30-60 minutes afterward . This way, you can protect your tooth enamel and keep your smile clean and healthy!
Your smile is affected by what you eat and drink, so eating healthy is another important way to prevent tooth decay. Foods that are high in sugars and simple carbohydrates such as crackers, chips, and cookies can stick to teeth and cause tooth enamel damage . Acidic drinks such as alcohol, fruit juice, and soda can all accelerate tooth enamel damage.
Although water is the healthiest beverage you can consume for your smile, you don’t have to give up other drinks entirely—simply sipping water when consuming them can help reduce tooth enamel damage and lower your risk for cavities! Reducing your sugar consumption is another important part of protecting your tooth enamel. Sugars produce acidic bacteria in the mouth, which can cause tooth enamel damage, especially when sugars are left to sit on the teeth.
See Your Dentist
Your dentist plays an essential role in helping to prevent tooth decay. Not only can your dentist spot the early stages of tooth decay to potentially reverse a cavity, but they can also help prevent tooth decay in the first place with regular visits.
If you’re at higher risk for tooth decay, your dentist can also apply fluoride treatments, which can help protect your smile between dental visits. Lack of fluoride can also influence your risk for tooth decay, so your dentist can talk with you to ensure you’re getting enough .
As early tooth decay doesn’t typically present any symptoms, your dentist is an important part of detecting any cavities early and preventing them. With your dentist, proper oral hygiene, and a healthy diet, you’re well on your way to preventing tooth decay!