Tooth decay is the damage of the structure, and it can affect the dentin layer of the tooth and the enamel. With general dentistry, our patients can also learn how to prevent tooth decay.
If you want to keep your teeth healthy, it is critical to attend appointments at your dentist’s office at least every six months. At Lovett Dental Kohrville, we are proud to provide a range of services, including regular dental exams. To learn more about our services, please reach out to our team today at 832-843-6776.
The Tooth Decay Process
In order to learn how to prevent tooth decay, it helps to know what causes it. The mouth is full of bacteria. There are hundreds of different types that live on gums, teeth, the tongue, and other places in the mouth. Some of the bacteria are helpful, but others can be harmful. The decay is the result of an infection from certain types of bacteria that use sugars from foods you eat to make acids. The acids cause the tooth decay process. When a tooth is exposed to acid often, such as when you drink or eat foods with high sugars, the repeated cycle of acid attacks cause the enamel to lose minerals. A white spot appears where minerals are lost. This white spot is a sign of early decay.
You can stop tooth decay in its early stages. Enamel can repair itself with minerals from fluoride, saliva, and other sources. However, if the tooth decay process continues, your teeth will lose more minerals. Over time, as the enamel weakens, tooth decay can lead to a range of conditions, including:
- Dental cavities
- Stains on the teeth
- Infection of the root of the tooth, leading to a tooth extraction
- Dental pain, which may indicate the need for a root canal or filling
If you’re experiencing tooth decay, it’s time to visit your dentist. They can treat the cavity so that the tooth can stay in your mouth.
Tips on How to Prevent Tooth Decay from a Dentist
Dentists have plenty of tips on how to prevent tooth decay naturally. For instance, our treatment specialists may recommend practices such as:
- Brush teeth at least twice a day. Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride. It’s best to brush teeth after every meal, and it’s especially important before going to bed.
- Use dental floss to clean between your teeth every day.
- Use a mouthwash that contains fluoride. Some mouthwash will also have antiseptic ingredients, which can kill bacteria.
- Eat nutritious and balanced meals. Avoid carbohydrates, such as chips, candy, and pretzels, which can remain on the tooth surface.
- After eating sticky foods, brush your teeth.
Fluoride is an important part of tooth decay prevention. Fluoride treatments help to protect teeth in two ways. It prevents mineral loss in the tooth enamel and helps replace lost minerals. It also reduces the ability of bacteria to make acid. You can get fluoride by drinking from your fluorinated community water supply. You can also choose a fluoride toothpaste. If your dentist thinks you need more fluoride, there are certain things he or she can do, such as apply fluoride gel to your teeth. Most bottled water doesn’t contain enough fluoride to prevent tooth decay.
Your diet is also important when it comes to learning how to prevent tooth decay. It’s best to limit snacks between meals. This can help reduce the number of acid attacks on the teeth and give teeth a chance to repair themselves. Save any soda, cookies, candy, or sugary drinks for a special occasion. Limit fruit juices. Don’t drink or eat anything with sugar after you brush your teeth at night. Saliva flow decreases while sleeping. Without adequate saliva production, teeth aren’t able to repair themselves after acid attacks.
Researchers are also helping develop new ways to prevent tooth decay, such as with mouth rinses and toothpaste that heal early decay.
What to Ask Your Dentist About for Tooth Decay Prevention
If you want to learn how to prevent tooth decay, there are some things you should ask your dentist about:
- Supplemental fluoride, which can help strengthen the teeth
- Dental sealants, which are a plastic protective coating to protect the teeth from decay
- When you should go in for regular cleaning and an oral exam