Tips For Avoiding Tooth Decay

man with tooth pain

Tooth decay can be a painful, debilitating and expensive experience. Decay happens as a result of plaque acid, which is created by the accumulation of the bacteria that is present in our food and drink. The acid eats away at our teeth, penetrating each later until it reaches the center pulp where the bacteria can cause infection, an abscess and further complications. The further the decay extends, the greater the harm that it will cause and the more complex and extensive the dental work to repair the damage will be.

Symptoms of tooth decay

Tooth decay is not usually obvious to the untrained eye, which is why it is so important to attend regular check-ups with your dentist. They will have the access and specialist tools to be able to spot tooth decay early and before it progresses. However, there are some symptoms to look out for, which include:

- Pain. Toothache can range from a chronic, dull ache to acute sharp pain that comes and goes.

- Tooth sensitivity that manifests as pain when eating something hot, cold or very sweet.

- Bad breath.

- Dark spots or marks on the teeth.

Avoiding tooth decay

There are several things that you can do to help protect yourself against tooth decay and they all involve reducing the damage that bacteria can do to your oral health.

Brushing and flossing

Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly is your biggest weapon against tooth decay. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day, particularly after meals, will help to remove any food particles and bacteria from your teeth quickly and before they can start the decaying process. Some debris and bacteria inevitably gets stuck in tiny crevices between teeth and between the teeth and gums. Flossing can help to reach those areas where a toothbrush might not be sufficient and should ideally be done at least once every day.

Use a bacteria-busting mouthwash

Mouthwash is an additional line of defence that should be used in conjunction with brushing and flossing your teeth. By rinsing your mouth using a bacteria-killing mouthwash, you can wash away any stubborn bacteria that may be hiding somewhere in your mouth.

Cut back on sweet treats

Everyone knows that too much sugar is bad for your teeth. This is because carbohydrates react with the bacteria to produce the plaque acid which quickly damages teeth. By cutting back on the amount of sugar you consume and cutting out sweet treats between meals you can help to avoid tooth decay.

Keep your mouth moist

Saliva is the mouth’s way of protecting itself from harmful plaque acids. However, dehydration and some medical conditions can mean that the body doesn’t produce enough saliva to take advantage of this natural defence. Drinking plenty of water is important for the body to function properly, and chewing sugar-free gum can kick-start saliva production, which will help protect you from tooth decay.

Stop smoking

Studies show that smokers have considerably more tartar than people who do not smoke. Tartar is a sticky, hardened form of plaque that provides an ideal surface for bacteria to accumulate and multiply, speeding up the decaying process. Giving up smoking may be one of the greatest challenges you will face, but your teeth and body will thank you for it!

Visit your dentist regularly

Your dentist is your number one support when it comes to avoiding tooth decay. This is because they have the tools and knowledge to be able to spot signs of decay early and will be able to treat any affected teeth to stop further damage from occurring.