TEN EASY TIPS TO SAVE YOUR TEETH FROM DECAY AND CAVITIES
A healthy, beautiful smile doesn't happen without work, so you have to be proactive against tooth decay. Why? Bacteria with an acidic residue starts to erode your teeth, which becomes cavities. Without treatment, a cavity can spread and lead to bigger problems that will impact the health and appearance of your smile. To reduce your risk of many issues, DentalWorks in Austin, TX has some ideas on how to protect your teeth from decay. The following ten simple tips are good ways to help keep your smile healthy and beautiful.
10. IT ALL STARTS WITH BRUSHING
To avoid tooth decay, you should be flossing and brushing your teeth at least two times a day. We all know this; however, if you are not doing it, you are allowing decay to develop and harm your teeth. In addition to how often you are flossing and brushing, you also need to make sure you are doing it correctly. At every visit to our office in Austin, TX, our team will demonstrate proper flossing and brushing techniques so our patients can optimize their daily home oral care routine. You can also ask your dental team for suggestions on products that will make your teeth healthier. As an example, if you are brushing manually with a traditional toothbrush, you will be amazed at how clean and bright your teeth will be when you switch to an electric toothbrush. Also, you should check to see that your toothpaste has fluoride because...
9. FLUORIDE: YOUR NOT SO SECRET WEAPON
While we think of fluoride treatments as a thing we used to get, they aren't just for children. A lot of dentists offer in-office fluoride rinses for younger patients starting around first grade through their late teens. However, if you are prone to tooth decay, a fluoride treatment can be beneficial. A simple way to get fluoride on your teeth is drinking tap water. Ask your water supplier if your tap water has fluoride and how much. The ADA (American Dental Association) recommends every liter of water have 0.7 mL of fluoride in it. If you aren't getting optimal levels, get information on professional treatments at your next appointment at the dentist. DentalWorks in Austin, TX offers treatments performed in our office plus fluoride tablets and mouthwash.
8. LOOK DEEPER WITH X-RAYS
It's hard to catch tooth decay on your own. This is just one reason why it is so important to make sure you get an annual oral exam at your dentist with x-rays to assess dental health. Dental x-rays show the interior and soft areas of your teeth so your dentist can identify developing tooth decay and existing cavities. With this information, your dentist can repair cavities with a filling. Your dentist may also suggest proactive treatments, such as fluoride and sealants, to reverse the tooth decay and avoid a cavity.
7. ANOTHER REASON TO AVOID SUGAR
Eating and drinking sugary foods and drinks without cleaning your teeth can put you at higher risk for developing tooth decay. Tooth decay starts with an acidic bacteria that is in drinks and food with a lot of sugar, such as candy, juices, and soft drinks. Since a large amount of sugar is not good for your general health either, it's smart to minimize how much you consume. If you do have something sugary, you should brush afterward. Brushing your teeth can help to eliminate the bacteria before it becomes a cavity.
6. CHECK WITH A PROFESSIONAL
Although your family is very busy, your dental visits for exams and cleanings are important. The health of your mouth depends on being aware of what's happening in your mouth. In every visit, your dental team will assess the health of your teeth, gums, and jaw. The faster issues are addressed, you'll have more treatment options, which are typically noninvasive. As an example, when identified early, tooth decay may be reversed with proactive treatment, like a professional fluoride rinse or sealants. If you don't do either of these, the decay can develop into a cavity, which can be fixed with a filling. However, without treatment, the cavity will get bigger and you will require a bigger restoration, such as an onlay, inlay, or dental crown. If you keep ignoring the cavity, it can grow until it reaches the pulp inside the tooth and then you will need root canal therapy. Without treatment, an extraction may be needed before your other teeth, gums, and jaw all become infected. If you still don't seek help, the infection can get into your blood and reach every part of your body. So, go to the dentist to avoid painful issues that start with tooth decay.
5. CONSIDER SEALANTS
When you need extra help preventing cavities, sealants can be applied to reduce the risk of decay. Made from a flexible plastic material, sealants can be placed over your molars and premolars in the back of your mouth. Since the rough surface of your back teeth easily hide bacteria, dental sealants are designed to minimize the risk of cavities where they are most likely to form. Dental sealants can be put on in a single appointment to protect your back teeth for a long time. Sealants are generally suggested for younger patients because they tend to have inconsistent oral care routines; however, adults can also get sealants if they are prone to tooth decay.
4. TEETH VS. TOOLS
Be aware of what you're doing with your teeth. A lot of people use their teeth to open something, pull apart toys, and use their teeth when they don't want to take the time to get the right tool. This is a fast way to damage and weaken your enamel. Cracks, chips, and fractures can make it easier for tooth decay to progress since your enamel is already weak. Before you tear open a bag with your teeth rather than getting scissors, think about the future costs and consequences.
3. REPORT PROBLEMS
In case you notice any of the symptoms of tooth decay, you need to go to your dentist. Most often, the first sign of tooth decay is chronic tooth sensitivity. They'll be a sharp pain whenever you consume something that is either cold, hot, or sweet. Advanced tooth decay can cause trouble chewing, toothaches, discoloration (black, brown, or white spots), and visible holes and pits. If a visit to the dentist seems worse than your symptoms because of anxiety or fear, ask our office in Austin, TX for more information on sedation dentistry. Along with advanced techniques and equipment to make treatments less invasive and more effective, DentalWorks in Austin, TX offers several types of sedation to make sure you feel relaxed and calm.
2. SET A GOOD EXAMPLE
To make sure your kids have healthy gums and teeth, you should practice what you preach. Brushing and flossing need to be a part of every family's members routine. If you aren't brushing, your children are less likely to brush. If you're not watching them brush (at least until they are seven years old), then they might not be brushing. Encouraging good oral health habits and setting a good example are a good way for you to avoid tooth decay (in both you and your family). And make sure you and your whole family go to the dentist every six months to get oral health exams and professional cleanings.
1. BRUSH SOME MORE
In case you didn't understand the importance of brushing, we're saying it again because it's worth repeating. The best thing you can do for your teeth is brush and floss after every meal. Have a spare toothbrush in your bag that you can take to work or school. Get a small toothbrush and travel size toothpaste for your child to use at school. When you take the time to frequently floss and brush, you can avoid tooth decay and bigger oral health problems. If you want more ideas to help you avoid decay, make an appointment at DentalWorks in Austin, TX. After an examination, we will offer suggestions to reduce your risk of developing tooth decay.