Preventing Tooth Decay

tooth-decayTooth decay is a common problem in the United States. Although it is more common in younger children, adolescents and aging adults can also suffer from decay. Tooth decay is the decay or destruction of a tooth’s enamel which can result in cavities, infections and in severe or untreated cases tooth loss.

Tooth decay can be caused by many elements:

  • Neglecting the daily care of your teeth
  • Failing to see your dentist for your regular oral exams and cleanings
  • An unhealthy diet, high in sugars and acids
  • A lack of fluoride
  • A lack of saliva
  • Smoking and using products containing tobacco

Preventing tooth decay is not only important for your oral health, it is also important for your general health and well being.

Here are some simple tips to prevent tooth decay while keeping your mouth healthy and happy:

  1. Clean your teeth. Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes and be sure to floss.
  2. Schedule and keep regular appointments with your dentist. Professional cleanings and dental examinations of your teeth are a must.
  3. For children, consider sealants. Sealants are protective coatings that are applied to the biting surface of molars. They help protect against damage to enamel from sugary and acid rich foods.
  4. Eat a healthy diet. Minimize sugary snacks and beverages. If you do have a sweet treat be sure to brush right after.
  5. Make sure that you are drinking fluoridated water. 74% of Americans have a community water supply that contains fluoride. If you don’t fall into that 74% talk to your dentist about alternative methods to get the fluoride you need.
  6. Kick that bad habit. Smoking and other tobacco products are bad for your entire body.