March 28, 2015 - 3:02am
Anyone’s who’s ever had a cavity filled can agree: tooth decay and cavities are one of the worst experiences you could have at a dental office. Luckily, they are preventable. A proactive person can improve their oral health by making a few lifestyle changes when it comes to diet and oral care.
Of course, the state of your teeth depends partly on what you eat and drink. A person’s dietary habits can influence how well-maintained their teeth are naturally. Thus, the best way to prevent tooth decay is to adapt to a nutritional diet. Some common types of food to avoid include:
● Carbohydrates like candy and chips, which can stick to the surface of your teeth long after you’ve finished eating
● Sticky foods, which can be hard to work out naturally and require good brushing to eradicate
● Sweet drinks, which can increase the acidity of your mouth, thereby destroying the protective enamel on your teeth
On the other hand, some foods include nutrients like calcium and phosphorus that are necessary to boost the strength of your teeth. These are:
● Chicken and other meats
A surprisingly good source of these minerals is tap water. Since most tap water includes some fluoride content, the extra fluoride (the same stuff that’s in toothpaste!) adds another source of protective minerals that your teeth need to stay healthy.
Furthermore, not only does what you eat matter, how you eat affects your teeth as well. Constantly snacking and sipping, for example, is bad because it means there are constantly bacteria swirling around your mouth. Because most people don’t brush their teeth after snacks, bacteria are allowed to stick around and slowly wear away the enamel that protects your teeth.
While making sure your dietary habits are set, you should pay attention to your everyday oral hygiene. Brushing at least twice a day (and preferably after every meal) substantially helps get rid of the bacteria that stick to your teeth. Fluoride toothpastes are the most effective because it simultaneously protects your enamels from acids that eat away at it and remineralizes the enamel to make it stronger. If brushing after every meal isn’t an option, though, at least rinse out your mouth as an alternate way to regulate your oral pH and to get rid of excess bacteria.
Flossing also is an important practice that prevents your enamel from wearing away. Flossing helps prevent plaque from building up on the surface of your teeth--because brushing can’t necessarily get rid of every little niche in your teeth, flossing helps to get at the small gaps between teeth to brush off any plaque that might have formed. This is especially important for children because enamel on baby teeth tend to be softer and more likely to erode.
Oral Hygiene Supplements
If good dietary habits and good oral hygiene aren’t enough, you can use other products to supplement your brushing and flossing routine. For example, supplemental fluoride can be prescribed by your dentist to create an even more helpful environment for your enamel. The supplemental fluoride can both strengthen and repair the teeth to prevent long term tooth decay from occurring.
Antibacterial rinses can be prescribed. As the name implies, antibacterial rinses help get rid of harmful bacteria that can attack enamel, making the mouth a cleaner environment for healthier teeth. Mouthwashes can also help treat gingivitis (bad breath) and prevent plaque buildup, making it an important part of oral hygiene in general.
Finally, dental sealants can be a useful addition. Dental sealants take the form of a protective plastic coating set on your back teeth that seals off your teeth, protecting the enamel. The extra layer provides an extra level of support because they prevent acids and bacteria from wearing away at the enamel.
If you want to use one of these supplemental measures, or if you have questions about oral hygiene in general, contact one of the many dentists in Dallas, TX to get a professional’s recommendation.