Most people tend to take oral health for granted, which is why dental troubles are quite prevalent among all age groups. But did you know gum ailment and dental decay are also one of the most easily preventable diseases? Dental decay occurs when the tooth enamel gets eroded, leading to holes or cavities in the teeth. If not treated in a timely manner, these cavities can further deteriorate to compromise the entire tooth, gum or even the root canal. However, the good news is that it is possible to thwart dental decay with reasonable and straightforward means.
How to Avoid Tooth Cavity?
Some ways of preventing tooth cavity include the following:
1. Proper Oral Care Regime
Adopting the correct oral care routine can go a long way in safeguarding your teeth against bacteria and plaque build-up which are detrimental for the health of your teeth. Brushing teeth twice every day, both in the morning and at night is a vital step in oral care. Make sure your brush reaches all the crevices, surfaces, pockets and corners of your teeth. Also, remember to clean your tongue gently with a tongue scraper or toothbrush as it can harbour bacteria as well.
Flossing daily at least once can avert the occurrence of tooth cavity and other periodontal diseases as it helps to remove any leftover food particles from under the gums, thus halting bacteria from establishing itself in the teeth. Also, floss can get to tiny crevices that brush bristles may not be able to reach.
Using mouthwash to maintain a clean mouth can be an added boost for oral hygiene. Plaque and bacteria usually develop in small spaces between the teeth and along the gum line, giving way to tooth cavity. The antibacterial abilities of mouthwash can help eliminate any residual bacteria, thus protecting teeth from premature decay. Therefore, rinse your mouth with mouthwash after brushing your teeth.
4. Restrict Intake of Sugar
Avoiding sugary foods like juices and aerated drinks which contribute to tartar development may play a significant role in promoting healthy teeth. Sugar can react with bacteria present in the mouth to generate an acid which may erode tooth enamel and ensue tooth decay and cavities.
5. Use of Fluoride Toothpaste
Many people may like to know how toothpaste prevents tooth decay. You may benefit by using toothpaste which contains fluoride as it can help support the tooth enamel to fight against excessive plaque accumulation which most often causes cavities.
6. Incorporate Healthy Eating Habits
Apt modifications in eating habits can not only arrest tooth decay but may also reverse it. It is certainly a good idea to reduce frequent snacking. Eating or drinking throughout the day can subject your teeth to constant attack, particularly from starchy and sugary foods. Instead, drinking water regularly, as in, having sips between bites can prove helpful.
7. Opt for Tooth-healthy Foods
Diet can impact the welfare of the body on the whole, including oral health. Eating foods rich in calcium like collards, kale, broccoli, dairy, etc. can nurture strong bones and teeth. Avoid excess of processed or junk food like chips, cookies, etc. Integrate fresh vegetables and fruits like Brussels sprouts, peas, bananas that encourage salivation in your diet so that bacteria are unable to stay on your teeth. Foods high in probiotics like kefir, kombucha and fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, etc. can stimulate the growth of good bacteria that may seize plaque expansion and dental decay.
8. Schedule Fixed Visits to the Dentist
Make regular appointments with your dentist for check-ups and dental cleaning even if you think your teeth appear healthy. Take note of any inflammation in the gums, bleeding while brushing, or pain and consult your dentist right away to avoid possible complications later on.
Some of the frequently asked questions about tooth decay are:
1. Why Do Teeth Decay?
Tooth decay may happen for several reasons –
- Having a dry mouth (less saliva) as saliva helps in washing away harmful bacteria that can destroy tooth enamel
- Frequent snacking on sugary stuff
- Lack of oral cleanliness
- Lack of regular dental screening and check-ups
2. How Are Cavities Formed?
Cavities generally form due to food and bacteria. The bacteria responsible for plaque formation tend to thrive on sugar found in drinks and foods to produce an acid which leads to the creation of bacterial plaque. With time, this plaque hardens and becomes a convenient place for bacteria to multiply. In due course of time, plaque starts eroding the tooth enamel (outer protective coating of teeth) to make small holes in the enamel. When the enamel gets destroyed, the bacteria begin to attack the dentin, subsequent layer of teeth. The acid and bacteria may continue to eat into the teeth structure, ruining the pulp, blood vessels, nerves and eventually causing a tooth abscess or cavity.
3. How Do You Know If Your Teeth Are Decaying?
More often than not, you may not experience any noticeable symptoms of decaying teeth. However, with the decay worsening you may start to feel a toothache, tooth sensitivity while drinking or eating something cold, hot or sweet. Visible holes may appear in teeth. You may also notice black, brown or white stains on the surface of the tooth.
4. Can You Reverse Tooth Decay?
Reversal of tooth decay may depend on the extent of the damage. If it is detected early on, remedial measures can be undertaken to rectify it. However, if a cavity has formed, your doctor may put a filling after removing the decayed material.
5. How to Prevent Child Tooth Decay?
You can prevent child tooth decay by:
- Introducing your child to a good oral hygiene routine
- Ensuring that he brushes and uses floss every day
- Providing him with healthy foods
- Keeping a check on his intake of sugary products
6. Which People Are More Prone to the Risk of Tooth Decay?
People who smoke, follow poor oral care routine amounting to the absence of brushing and flossing teeth on a daily basis, or consume sugary foods or carbohydrates in large quantities may be more prone to the risk of tooth decay.
Oral health is an essential part of our overall well-being. Most people, age notwithstanding, are susceptible to developing cavities. It is never too late to take charge of the situation and take concrete steps to protect and restore your oral health and stop dental problems.