We all know the spiel from our favorite local dentist: To prevent tooth decay, we need to brush and floss our teeth daily. It should be an easy solution, right?
Yet, tooth decay remains one of the most common medical conditions in the world. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that a whopping 2.4 billion people suffer from some form of tooth decay.
Tooth decay has the potential to cause extreme discomfort in affected patients, from difficulty chewing to image problems due to discolored teeth. So it’s definitely something you want to watch out for (but you didn’t need me to tell you).
In order to avoid these problems, here are a few of the ways that you can prevent tooth decay in your personal life.
Supercharge your personal dental hygiene
Ok, so you know you need to brush and floss your teeth daily. That’s good, but it shouldn’t be an end-all solution to preventing ugly cavities from showing. So how exactly should you approach dental hygiene in your personal life?
Here are a few tips to improving your dental hygiene:
- Brush your teeth after every meal and before you go to sleep. Microbes in your mouth feed on sugars that you eat, leaving behind waste known as dental plaque. Get rid of that plaque to prevent tooth decay before it begins.
- Perfect your brushing technique. While it may seem odd to say, there is an art form that goes into brushing your teeth. Make sure you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gently brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle.
- Replace your toothbrush after three to four months. Besides retaining gross bacteria, old toothbrushes are less effective at removing plaque from your mouth.
- Use an antimicrobial mouthwash. Besides making your breath smell like cool mint (or whatever flavor you prefer), mouthwash can remove many harmful bacteria that you miss while brushing.
Make sure to take advantage of regular professional cleaning
Going to the dentist gets a bad rap. People around the world dread the day that they have to get their checkup.
In fact, dental phobia is a real thing, with five to 10 percent of people experiencing intense fear of even approaching their local dentist – even in face of major dental issues, including tooth decay.
This is obviously not ideal, as regular dental checkups are essential to preventing tooth decay. Professional cleanings – at least twice a year – allow your dentist to make sure that you’re caring for your teeth and catch any issues before they become too serious.
If the thought of going to your dentist gives you such anxiety that you’d rather not go, perhaps it’s time for a change. It’s the job of the dentist to provide a safe, relaxing place for all of their patients. Look through customer reviews on Yelp or Google and find the best dentist for you.
Keep your sugar intake low
Your teeth are the first defense against anything you decide to eat. And just as eating poorly can cause you to gain weight, it can also increase your chances for tooth decay.
It’s easier said than done, but avoiding snacks that are high in sugar is the best way to avoid tooth decay. Instead of drinking a soft drink at lunch, consider just drinking water.
You don’t have to cut sugar completely from your diet – it’s especially hard to avoid during the holiday season. But try to keep your sugar intake below 10% of your daily caloric intake and you should be fine.
Just don’t forget to brush!
The effect of fluoride when it comes to preventing tooth decay cannot be understated – it’s almost like a secret weapon in your dental arsenal.
Fluoride has many benefits for healthy teeth. It can rebuild weakened enamel, prevent the growth of bacteria, and even reverse the effects of the early stages of tooth decay. Make sure your toothpaste has fluoride in order to get the most benefit from brushing your teeth.
Other types of fluoride therapy involve fluoride supplementation through the consumption of water, salt, tablets, or drops. Ask your dentist if any of these are right for you.
Bring in the big guns: The power of dental sealant
If all else fails, it might be time to call in the professional. Yes, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with your dentist.
But what exactly is a dental sealant?
Quite simple actually: It’s consists of placing a thin plastic coating over one or more teeth, which eventually forms a protective shield over the enamel.
Dental sealants protect the vulnerable areas that your toothbrush can’t reach by sealing out plaque and food, giving you an additional layer of protection against tooth decay.
Tooth decay can be a difficult pill to swallow for anyone suffering from it. But if you take care of your teeth by following these five tips, you can ensure that you never experience the pain and embarrassment that comes with decaying teeth.
To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton’s office in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or through the website.
Dr. Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside and all surrounding areas.