What is tooth decay and what are its risks? How can we prevent bacteria acids from damaging our teeth irreversibly? What can we do to prevent tooth decay and keep our oral health in optimal condition?
Tooth decay (also known simply as cavities) is a decay of the teeth as a result of acids produced by bacteria. The acid of the current bacteria dissolving the hard tissues of the teeth (enamel, dentin and cementum).
Cavities are areas of the hard surface of teeth that have been permanently damaged by developing small openings or holes. Cavities are caused by a combination of bacteria, including:
- Bacteria in the mouth.
- Frequent snacks.
- Abuse of sugary drinks.
- Inefficient teeth cleaning.
What Causes Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay occurs when tooth enamel softens, and acids that are created when plaque bacteria break down sugar from the sugar in the mouth, causing damage to the structure of the tooth. If this process in the enamel is not treated in time, it could trigger a cavity or hole in the tooth.
Now that you know what tooth decay is and what its most common causes are, read on to discover how you can keep your teeth healthy and without risk of suffering this type of damage to your teeth that can lead to more expensive treatments, such as root canals or even loss of teeth in the most severe cases.
How to prevent tooth decay?
Dental cavities can be avoided mainly through oral and dental hygiene. There are also some tips you can follow to avoid cavities. Consult with your dentist about what other tips can help you prevent cavities.
Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste after every meal
Although the ideal is to wash it after each meal, try to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Additionally, floss or use an interdental cleanser to clean between your teeth.
Visit the dentist's office frequently
Regular dental cleanings and professional oral exams can help you avoid problems or catch them early. Your dentist can make recommendations specifically for you.
Rinse your mouth
Typically, dentists recommend fluoride mouthwashes if they think you are at high risk of developing tooth decay.
Drink some plain water
Most of the time, tap water has been treated with fluoride, which can be beneficial in reducing the chance of tooth decay. Bottled water, by its art, does not contain fluoride, so you would be losing its benefits to prevent tooth decay.
Choose foods that are healthy for your teeth
Keep in mind that there are some foods and drinks that are better for take care of your teeth easily with respect to others. For example, to prevent tooth decay, try to avoid those elements that can get trapped between your teeth for long periods or brush your teeth after ingesting them. There are also others, such as vegetables that increase the flow of saliva. Coffee, tea, and sugar-free gum are beneficial in reducing food particles.
Avoid sugary sodas
The bacteria in your mouth create acids that can damage your tooth enamel every time you eat or drink beverages other than water. Your teeth will be at constant risk if you eat or drink throughout the day without brushing immediately afterward.
Check antibacterial treatments
If you are predisposed to tooth decay, your dentist may recommend antibacterial mouthwashes or some other treatment that helps reduce harmful bacteria in your mouth.
Get a fluoride treatment
Your dentist may recommend regular fluoride treatment. If you are not getting enough fluoride from natural sources, I may recommend one of these additional treatments.
Consider combination treatments
Chewing xylitol-based gum along with prescription fluoride can help reduce the risk of cavities when combined with an antibacterial rinse.