Did you know that when it comes to common diseases, tooth decay is surpassed only by the common cold? Tooth decay can start even in childhood and by middle age, more than 90% of adults are affected by the problem! Fortunately, you can significantly lower your risk. How?
First, it’s important to know how tooth decay is caused. Tooth decay and gum disease begin when colonies of bacteria coat the teeth with a sticky film called plaque. If plaque is not brushed away, these bacteria break down the sugars and starches in foods to produce acids that wear away the tooth enamel. If not addressed, the plaque may also harden into tartar, which can lead to gum inflammation, or gingivitis.
Sounds scary, right? Luckily, tooth decay is preventable. The following are some things you can do to lessen your chances of tooth decay and gingivitis happening to you:
Good Oral Hygiene
Brush and floss at least twice daily, and keep up with your routine professional cleanings (Every six months is recommended!)
A Well-Balanced Diet
Add calcium-rich foods to your diet, such as low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese.
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables for vitamins A and C, and for chewing in order to promote healthy gums.
Fluoride can reduce the risk of tooth decay by up to 30%. Fluoride is added to the city water supply, but if you are on well water it may not have enough Fluoride. Talk to your dentist.
Limit dried fruits and other sticky foods that lodge between the teeth.
Avoid sweet drinks and snacks. and steady sipping of acidic drinks for prolonged periods. They can create an acidic environment in your mouth that can contribute to decay by eroding tooth enamel and weakening its defenses.
Individual Risk Factors
You also may have individual risk factors as well that our office can help you identify and address. For example, the shape of everyone’s teeth varies and some of us have more valleys, tiny grooves, and pits than others. These are likely places for bacteria to congregate can be the most difficult to reach with a toothbrush, but invisible sealants can be applied to prevent bacteria from reaching those areas.
If you would like more information about tooth decay and prevention, please click here to book an appointment for a consultation. If you are due for a dental cleaning, please also call us as soon as possible.