Also known as cavities or dental caries, tooth decay is one of the most common chronic issues affecting children and adults across the country. Approximately 42% of children have had cavities in their baby teeth. About 59% of adolescents, 92% of adults, and 93% of seniors have had cavities in their permanent teeth.
While tooth decay is common, it’s also one of the easiest conditions to prevent. In this article, you’ll learn some of the best dental care tips from a Las Vegas orthodontist to prevent cavities and keep your teeth healthy.
How to Avoid Tooth Decay
Your teeth are essential. Not only do they provide you with a beautiful, confident smile, but they are also vital for speaking, chewing, and keeping you healthy. Here are some of the best ways to avoid tooth decay:
1. Brush Your Teeth Regularly
One of the best ways to prevent tooth decay is to brush your teeth regularly. At the very least, you should be brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Even better, brush after meals and snacks too.
2. Remember to Floss and Rinse
Brushing is vital, but the bristles of your toothbrush can’t get into the spaces between your teeth. Use regular floss or a water pick to eliminate food particles, plaque, and debris from those hard-to-reach spaces. You should also rinse your mouth with mouthwash to kill any lingering bacteria.
3. Eat Teeth-Friendly Foods
A healthy diet is necessary for your whole-body health, including the health of your teeth and gums. Include foods rich in vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamin D. Crunchy fruits and vegetables such as carrots, apples, and celery can also help to “brush” away plaque and bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth.
4. Stay Hydrated
Along with eating healthy, nutrient-rich foods, drinking plenty of water helps to wash away food particles and bacteria. You might also consider incorporating green tea to help inhibit bacterial growth.
5. Limit Snacking
Snack foods like chips, pretzels, gummy candies, and chocolate are all delicious. Unfortunately, they can also stick to the surfaces of your teeth and provide food for bacteria to grow. When you do have sticky snacks, be sure to brush your teeth right after.
6. Consider Sealants
The deep grooves on the chewing surfaces of your molars can trap food particles and bacteria. They’re also difficult to keep clean, even with regular brushing. Sealants cover those pits, making the teeth easier to keep clean.
7. Schedule Regular Dental Checkups
Regular dental cleanings and exams allow a professional to look over your teeth and clean them thoroughly. A dentist can also inspect your teeth for early warning signs of tooth decay and help you take steps to avoid cavities.
Signs to Watch For
Even with the best prevention, tooth decay can still happen. Regular dental exams can help to catch decay before it becomes severe. However, sometimes, you might notice symptoms between checkups. Here are a few things to watch for:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Tooth pain
- Sharp pain when you chew
- A visible hole or divot in your tooth
- A brown or black spot on the surface of a tooth
If you notice any of these symptoms or think there’s a problem with your teeth, contact the dentist right away.
Keep Your Teeth Healthy and Free of Decay
Even a small cavity can lead to significant problems if you don’t address it quickly. These dental care tips can help you keep your teeth strong and healthy. And don’t forget to schedule regular checkups to ensure that your hard work is paying off.