Tooth decay is a serious problem. Fortunately, it can be prevented. Good oral hygiene is key to prevent tooth decay and other oral problems such as gum disease. The best defense against oral disease is to prevent it by practicing a good oral hygiene routine. A daily schedule of bushing, flossing, and rinsing will go a long way toward keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
Brushing and Flossing
It’s important to brush and floss your teeth on a daily basis. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth as soon as you finish eating. It’s important to keep food and debris from sticking between and around the teeth. This debris turns into plaque and causes tooth decay and gum disease. Floss between teeth daily to remove particles that get stuck in between teeth. When a toothbrush becomes worn out, it won’t perform well, so you should replace your brush when the bristles begin to bend. Use toothpaste designed to clean teeth – good toothpaste is one that contains fluoride that helps keep teeth strong.
Regular rinsing is recommended. It helps to loosen and remove particles from in and around teeth. Use a mouth rinse that is specially formulated to keep teeth strong and healthy. Rinsing also helps the gums stay healthy. But if you want something that packs a little more punch, consider using a power instrument. A power instrument uses force to get rid of debris. Additionally, a power toothbrush controls your brushing and ensures that you get into all the areas where bacteria can hide. Ask your dentist to recommend a good power toothbrush and/or power instrument for rinsing, because some products are better than others.
Eating to Prevent Tooth Decay
Many types of foods and beverages can contribute to tooth decay. Sodas and other sugary drinks can be particularly destructive, especially if they are consumed close to bedtime and aren’t removed by rinsing or brushing. Candy and foods high in sugar are also harmful. Sticky foods such as taffy and caramel can get stuck in the teeth and may be difficult to remove. Keep your intake of sugary foods and drinks to a minimum and be sure to brush, floss, and rinse after eating or drinking. If you don’t have access to a toothbrush, you can use floss picks after meals to get rid of any food particles between the teeth.
Regular Dental Visits
Visiting your dentist on a regular basis will help prevent tooth decay and decrease the risk of oral disease. Your dentist will examine your teeth and take X-rays in an effort to pinpoint tooth decay as soon as it forms. Early treatment will ensure that proper care is quickly given. You’ll also want to have your teeth professionally cleaned once or twice per year. Cleaning removes excess plaque before it has a chance to cause damage or turn into periodontal disease.
On average, most people should see a dentist twice a year. However, those who are at a higher risk for dental disease might have to visit a dentist every three to four months. Those in the high-risk category include people with gum disease, patients who typically get cavities or plaque build-up, those with a weak immune response to bacterial infection, diabetics and smokers.