As the old saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’ and this is especially true when it comes to tooth decay. Looking after your teeth and gums can help prevent many problems in the future, such as cavities and receding gums, so the earlier you start with proper dental care and good oral hygiene the better.
Tooth decay is also a condition which can affect us at any age – in fact, there has been a growing number of schoolchildren who have tooth decay, largely due to their high -sugar diets.
This poses the question, is there anything you can do to prevent decay? Luckily, yes – there are several things you can do today to prevent tooth decay or at least slow the progression. Find out more about the essential steps in preventing tooth decay in our post below.
Step 1: Brush and floss daily
The key components of good oral hygiene are twice daily brushing and flossing. This helps to remove the build-up of plaque (the invisible, sticky film over your teeth) which contains the bacteria which attacks the enamel and causes cavities.
Brushing alone isn’t enough – you need to floss between your teeth to remove the hidden plaque and bacteria, and this also helps to keep your gum line clean too. If your teeth bleed when you floss, ask your dentist for tips on improving your flossing technique.
Visit your dentist twice a year for deep cleaning
Over time, the plaque on your teeth that can’t be removed by brushing or flossing hardens into tartar, which needs to be removed by your dentist with a thorough cleaning. The process of cleaning your teeth is very simple, and yet it’s something a lot of people dread.
We use ultrasonic instruments to tailor the cleaning to each patients’ comfort level and sensitivity, or if you have very sensitive teeth we can use hand instruments for effective plaque removal. We’ll also polish the teeth to bring them back to their original smoothness. Find out more about the cleaning process and what’s involved here.
Keep an eye on your sugar intake
It’s a well-known fact that high-sugar diets lead to all sorts of health problems, but they are particularly harsh on your teeth as the bacteria in your mouth uses the sugar from foods and drinks to produce acids which attack your tooth enamel and cause decay and cavities.
It’s impossible to avoid all sugar, but reducing your intake of fizzy sugary soft drinks, cutting back on sweets and being aware of the hidden sugar content of foods and drinks will go a long way in helping to prevent decay.
Talk to your dentist about any medications you might be taking
Sometimes, certain medications can speed up the decay process, so while your diet might be healthy and low in sugar you can still develop cavities.Medications such as high blood pressure, antacids or antihistamines can lead to oral health complications, so if you are concerned about the impact these could have on your teeth, talk to your dentist about a comprehensive treatment plan for looking after your whole mouth.