How to Prevent Tooth Decay and Achieve a Healthy Smile

How to Prevent Tooth Decay and Achieve a Healthy Smile

It is important to prevent tooth decay for overall health. The state of your oral health impacts the rest of your body. Areas of tooth decay, also known as cavities, are damaged areas on the hard surface of the teeth. They develop small holes or openings that when unattended transform into a bigger dental problem.

Cavities or tooth decay, also called caries, can develop from a variety of factors. These include frequent snacking, the build-up of bacteria in your mouth, sugary foods and drinks, improper oral cleaning, and other factors.

Prevalence of Tooth Decay in the U.S.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), approximately 90% of adults age 20 and older have at least one cavity. The organization reports that 1 in 4 adults from ages 20 to 64 has at least one active cavity.

The problem also extends to teenagers, with a reported prevalence of 57% of people ages 12 to 19 years with at least one cavity. It is no wonder that the effort to prevent tooth decay must become a priority to achieve and maintain overall health.

How to Prevent Tooth Decay and Achieve a Healthy SmileHow to Prevent Tooth Decay

There are several tips one can follow to prevent tooth decay and have a healthy and bright smile.

Tip 1: Brush, Brush, Brush!

No matter what type of eating habits you have, the key to maintaining a clean set of teeth is brushing regularly. You should be brushing your teeth at least twice per day. It is best to use toothpaste that contains cavity-fighting ingredients such as fluoride.

It is recommended to brush after each meal and certainly before going to sleep at night. Although regular brushing is key, it is important for you to choose a soft brush that doesn’t wear out your tooth enamel.

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Tip 2: Floss Regularly

Even after brushing, you must keep the spaces between your teeth clean. A brush simply doesn’t reach every tiny crevice. Therefore, flossing is necessary to remove debris caught between your teeth.

Floss at least once per day, certainly at night. Use dental floss or tiny interdental cleaners.

Tip 3: Eat Healthy Foods

The type of foods you eat has a great impact on your oral health. It doesn’t matter how much you brush and floss if the meals you consume are filled with ingredients that go against oral health.

Choose nutritious and balanced options while limiting snacks throughout the day. It is best to avoid processed carbohydrates such as chips, candy, and processed foods. These stick to the surface of your teeth and oftentimes are filled with chemicals such as artificial colors.

Tip 4: Visit Your Dentist Regularly

To prevent tooth decay, WebMD recommends routine dental visits to uncover potential dental problems and various oral health issues. Without the diagnostic tools your dentist uses, many health issues can go unnoticed.

Untreated conditions can become worse and create more serious health concerns. Not to mention, the potential for an untreated oral issue to become a very painful experience! WebMD mentions a survey that reported fewer missing teeth in adults who had regular dental checkups.

Tip 5: Include Fluoride in Your Health Routine

As a mineral that is naturally present in many foods and drinking water, fluoride provides the extra strength your tooth enamel needs. This powerful mineral helps you prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

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Levels of available fluoride vary, which is why sometimes it is necessary to supplement it in different ways. One way to increase your fluoride consumption is to consult your dentist about a fluoride prescription.

Your dental team may be able to provide a fluoride solution that is stronger than over-the-counter toothpaste.

Tip 6: Explore Dental Health Education

Learning about proper oral health is not limited to children. In fact, many adults don’t know the proper routine to maintain healthy teeth. It’s never too late to “brush up” on your oral health knowledge. Involve the whole family in dental health education.

The more you know about your teeth and gums, the more likely you’ll have excellent oral health. Watch informative videos to have a better understanding of how to maintain a proactive oral health routine.

Tip 7: Know the Symptoms of Tooth Decay

Finally, the last tip we’d like to share with you is knowing the symptoms of tooth decay. If you detect any symptoms early, you’ll have a better chance at a quicker recovery. Although it can vary from person to person, it is key to know the following symptoms:

  • Toothache: Even the slightest pain must be carefully examined.
  • Tooth sensitivity: Tenderness when eating or drinking hot, cold, or sweet substances.
  • Discoloration or spots on teeth: Check for translucent, black, grey, or brown spots on your teeth.
  • Bad breath: Try to detect a foul or unusual odor or taste in your mouth.

Take Action to Prevent Tooth Decay

At Carolina Dental Arts, our dental team provides various treatments to help you prevent tooth decay. We treat both adults and children with services that include routine cleanings, preventative treatments, early cavity detection, and digital x-rays.

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With four convenient locations including Raleigh at Glenwood South, New Bern Avenue, Goldsboro, and Durham, we are proud to serve North Carolina residents.

Our mission is to help each patient enjoy excellent dental health and decrease the risk of painful conditions.

Don’t let tooth decay become part of your life. Visit our website and call for an appointment today!

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