TEN WAYS TO AVOID TOOTH DECAY AND CAVITIES
To keep your smile healthy and bright, you need to fight tooth decay every day. Why? Acidic bacteria in your mouth begins to decay your enamel, which turns into dental cavities. If left untreated, a cavity can turn into an infection that will affect your smile's health and appearance. To avoid many problems, DentalWorks in Littleton, CO offers you suggestions on how to save your teeth from decay. These ten basic tips are an easy way to keep your teeth healthier.
10. BRUSH IT OFF
At least twice a day, you should be brushing and flossing your teeth. You know this, but if you're not doing it, you’re inviting 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 have good technique. During visits to DentalWorks in Littleton, CO, we demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques to all of our patients so they can be effective with their dental care routine at home. Ask your dentist for recommendations on what products you should use to get your teeth cleaner at home. For example, if you’re using a manual toothbrush, you may be surprised at how an electric toothbrush can make your teeth look and feel cleaner. Also, you should make sure that your toothpaste is formulated with fluoride because...
9. THE POWER OF FLUORIDE
Fluoride treatments are not just for kids. Many dentists suggest professional fluoride treatments for children starting at six years old until they are about 16 – 18 years old. However, if an adult is prone to cavities, a professional fluoride treatment may be very beneficial to your oral health. An easy 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 dentist. DentalWorks in Littleton, CO offers in-office treatments as well as prescription fluoride mouthwash and tablets you can use between visits.
8. USING X-RAY VISION
You can't always diagnose tooth decay and cavities in the early stages. This is why it’s important to visit your dentist for an annual exam, so they can use digital x-rays to check your teeth, gums, and jaw. Digital x-rays reveal more information about your teeth, which makes it easier for your dentist to spot both areas where decay is developing and where it has already turned into a cavity. This allows your dentist to quickly address cavities and avoid a larger problem with a tooth-colored filling or other restoration. They can also recommend preventive treatments, like dental sealants and fluoride, to help make sure a cavity doesn't develop.
7. SUGAR > BACTERIA > TOOTH DECAY
Enjoying high sugar food and drinks between meals without brushing your teeth and flossing can make it easier for tooth decay to develop. Tooth decay is caused by acidic bacteria found in food and drinks with a high sugar content, including candy, juice, and soda. Since sugar is not great for your body either, it is good to limit or eliminate 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 right away. This will help to remove the acid and bacteria before it turns into tooth decay.
6. A PROFESSIONAL OPINION
Even if you and your family are really busy with school, work, social events, and sports, your dental appointment should not be missed. Your oral health is dependent on knowing what is going on inside your mouth. During routine appointments, your hygienist and dentist will both polish your teeth and check for problems. The sooner dental problems are found, the more treatment options you will have, which are usually less invasive. For example, early signs of tooth decay can be repaired with dental sealants or a professional fluoride treatment. Without treatment, the decay can turn into a cavity, which can usually be repaired 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 continue to ignore the problem, it can spread to 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 get infected. And if you still don’t get it treated, the infection can reach your whole body through your bloodstream. So, do yourself a favor and go to your dentist twice a year for an exam and cleanings to avoid bigger problems started by tooth decay.
5. PREVENT WITH SEALANTS
If you really want to avoid cavities, a dental sealant can be put on put on your teeth to help protect it from decay. A flexible plastic material, sealants are put over your premolars and molars. Since the crevices on top of your back teeth can trap bacteria, sealants reduce the risk of cavities where they most commonly appear. Sealants can be applied in one quick visit for years of protection. Sealants are usually recommended for children since they haven't developed a consistent oral hygiene routine yet, but adults may be a good candidate for sealants if they are prone to cavities.
4. USE THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB
Think about what you use your teeth for. Most people tend to use their teeth to rip things open, pull apart Legos, and basically use their teeth rather than find a proper tool. This will make your enamel weak. Chips, cracks, and fractures in your teeth from the damage you do can make tooth decay worse since your enamel is weaker. 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.
3. CHECK YOUR SYMPTOMS
When you feel or see signs of tooth decay, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist. Usually, the first sign of tooth decay is persistent tooth sensitivity. This causes a sharp pain when you drink or eat something that’s hot, cold, or sweet. As tooth decay progress, you may notice toothaches, trouble chewing, discoloration (white, brown, or black stains), and finally, visible pits and holes. If you'd rather suffer through pain rather than go to the dentist because of fear and anxiety, contact our office in Littleton, CO to ask about sedation. In addition to state-of-the-art equipment and techniques to make dental procedures more effective and less invasive, DentalWorks in Littleton, CO offers different levels of sedation so it's easy to stay calm and relaxed throughout your visit.
2. PASS IT ALONG
If you want your children to have healthy teeth, you have to be their role model. Flossing and brushing should be a part of everyone's day. If you're not brushing, it's harder to make your kids brush. If you aren't checking to make sure they brush (especially until the age of 7 – 10 years old), then your kid(s) may be brushing incorrectly or not at all. When you set a good example and encourage healthy habits, you to reduce the risk of tooth decay (for yourself and your family). And take every member of your family to the dentist twice a year for an oral health exam and professional cleaning.
1. AND BRUSH AGAIN
We're saying it again because it's worth repeating. Your teeth need to be brushed and flossed at least twice a day. Bring a toothbrush and toothpaste with you to school or work. 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 regularly brush and floss your teeth, you might prevent tooth decay and related problems. To better avoid dental decay, visit DentalWorks in Littleton, CO. After a comprehensive exam, we can offer recommendations based on your needs and goals.