“You have a cavity.” No one likes to hear these dreaded words when at the dentist. The news of a new cavity may feel shocking but the interesting thing about cavities is that they are slow growing. They don’t grow and develop overnight,as some may think.
When you consume food or sugar, your mouth turns into an acidic environment. Acid works to demineralize your teeth. Naturally, your saliva helps to neutralize your oral cavity and help remineralize your teeth. Your body is really a system of checks and balances that works hard to keep your teeth healthy.
When your teeth spend more time in an acidic environment than in a neutral one, a cavity can begin to form. Cavities usually begin in the outermost layer of your tooth and with more time it can grow deeper into your tooth. Once the decay has pushed through the hard enamel layer, it can spread much quicker into the softer inner parts of your tooth. There is no turning back once it reaches this point, and your cavity needs to be treated.
The good news is that most cavities take at least two years from start to finish. Perhaps you have been told that some areas are being watched. These daily tricks can help strengthen your teeth and keep you from developing tooth decay.
1. Invest In An Electric Toothbrush
An electric toothbrush takes the guesswork out of brushing. Most electric toothbrushes have a timer that runs for the recommended 2 minutes. All you need to focus on is setting the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line and gently moving the brush from tooth to tooth. You don’t have to do the scrubbing. The electric toothbrush will take care of that part for you!
Even with an electric toothbrush, replacing your brush head every 3-4 months is essential. The bristles on your electric toothbrush wear out with time, and then they won’t remove plaque effectively. Make sure you change it out as recommended.
2. Choose Healthy Snacks and Meals
Any food has the potential to cause a cavity, but some foods are a much higher cavity risk. Healthy foods help your body and are also needed for building strong and healthy teeth. Following are a few food and drink examples that are great for your health and your teeth:
3. Limit Junk Food and Sugary Beverages
Bacteria love sugar and junk food. As bacteria break down such foods, they produce an acidic byproduct that can cause problems for your teeth. Sticky, sugar foods tend to find crevices in your teeth, and they can be difficult to remove. Sugary beverages tend to be a double whammy as they tend to be acidic and filled with sugar. Limiting your consumption of these foods can be beneficial as they tend to be high cavity risk with little to no nutritional value:
- Processed and prepackaged meals
- Fruit Snacks
- Energy Drinks
4. Use Dental Products With Fluoride
Fluoride is an important building block for your teeth. Consistent use can help to remineralize your teeth and strengthen them. Fluoride can be found in over-the-counter dental products such as mouth rinse. Fluoride treatments are often recommended in the dental office for children and adults.
5. Visit Your Dentist
Routine dental visits have been shown to help reduce decay. Yes, having teeth cleaned routinely helps with this but so do routine x-rays and exams. These things make it possible for your dentist to catch decay in its earliest stage. Giving you the tools and information to care for your teeth at home can help to remineralize these areas of beginning decay and to help prevent new spots from starting.
Just like you can do things to improve your health, you can improve your oral health and reduce tooth decay. Don’t wait to take control of your oral health. You can start doing that today! If you need your next appointment scheduled, please contact us at Taylor Dental.