Tooth decay is the most common oral health condition in the world. This condition is especially common in children, adolescents, and the elderly. But anyone with teeth can get cavities, even babies. So what to do to prevent tooth decay? Let’s find out how to prevent tooth decay in this article!
What is tooth decay?
Tooth decay is permanent damage to the enamel surface of the teeth, which develops into tiny gaps or holes. Tooth decay is caused by a combination of different factors, including bacteria in the oral cavity, snacking habits, sugary drinks, and poor oral hygiene.
If tooth decay is left untreated, the damage will grow and affect the deeper parts of the tooth. This can lead to severe toothache, infection, and tooth loss. Regular dental visits along with good brushing and flossing habits are your best defense against tooth decay.
What causes tooth decay?
Tooth decay is a process that takes place over time, it develops through the following stages:
Plaque: Plaque is a transparent, sticky film that covers the outer surface of the teeth. Plaque forms because you eat a lot of sugar, and starch and do not clean your teeth thoroughly. When sugars and starches stick to teeth, bacteria will quickly grow and form plaque. Plaque on teeth can be located below or above the gum line, it hardens to form tartar (calcium), making it harder to remove and creating a shield for bacteria to grow.
Plaque attacks teeth: Acids in plaque destroy minerals in the enamel layer. This erosion causes small holes in the enamel – the first stage of tooth decay. Once the enamel is eroded, bacteria and acids can attack the next layer of the tooth, called dentin. This layer is softer than enamel and less resistant to acids. The dentin has tiny tubes that connect directly with the nerve of the tooth, so when caries attacks here, it will cause sensitivity.
Cavities Keep Growing: As tooth decay develops, bacteria and acids continue to travel through your teeth, traveling to the pulp, where nerves and blood vessels are located. The pulp of the tooth is swollen due to bacteria invading, compressing the nerve, and causing pain. The discomfort can even extend beyond the root to the bone.
Everyone is at risk for tooth decay, the following factors can increase your risk of tooth decay:
Location of teeth: Cavities often occur in the inner teeth (molars and premolars). These teeth have lots of grooves, holes, and crevices, and many roots are places where food particles can easily get stuck. As a result, they are harder to keep clean than your soft and easily accessible front teeth.
Certain foods can cause tooth decay: Certain foods can stay on your teeth for a long time, such as ice cream, milk, honey, sugar, soda, dried fruit, hard candies and mints, cakes, and cookies. , dry cereals and chips are more likely to cause tooth decay than foods that are easily washed away by saliva.
Snacking often: If you regularly snack or sip sugary drinks, you provide bacteria with a favorable environment to grow, creating acids that attack tooth enamel and wear down teeth. Drinking soda water or acidic beverages regularly throughout the day will help create a constant amount of acid that coats your teeth, wearing away enamel.
Not brushing enough: If you don’t clean your teeth soon after eating, plaque builds up quickly and the early stages of tooth decay can begin.
Lack of fluoride: Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps prevent tooth decay and can even reverse the earliest stages of tooth damage. Because of fluoride’s benefits to teeth, it is added to many public water supplies. It is also a common ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwash. Bottled water usually does not have fluoride.
Age: In the United States, tooth decay is more common in children, adolescents, and the elderly who are also at higher risk. Over time, teeth can wear down and gums can recede, making teeth more susceptible to root decay. Older adults may also be taking medications that reduce saliva flow, increasing the risk of tooth decay.
Complications of tooth decay
You might think tooth decay isn’t a concern because it’s so common. And you might think that it doesn’t matter if your child has cavities in their baby teeth. However, tooth decay can cause serious and long-term complications, even for children who have not yet developed permanent teeth.
Complications of tooth decay include:
- Tooth abscess
- Swelling or discharge of pus around the tooth
- Damage or broken teeth
- Chewing problems
- Change the position of teeth after tooth loss
- When tooth decay becomes severe, you may experience the following conditions:
When tooth decay becomes severe, you may experience the following conditions:
Toothache affects daily activities.
- Weight loss or nutritional problems due to difficulty eating or chewing.
- Missing teeth can affect your appearance as well as your confidence.
- In rare cases, a tooth abscess can lead to a more serious or even life-threatening infection.
Therefore, what you need to do is prevent tooth decay, and avoid this situation from happening.
Ways to prevent tooth decay
Good oral hygiene can help you avoid tooth decay and other dental problems. Here are some ways to prevent tooth decay. However, ask your dentist what advice is best for you.
Brush your teeth after eating or drinking: Brush your teeth at least twice a day and preferably after each meal, using a toothpaste that contains fluoride. To clean between your teeth, floss or use an interdental cleaner.
Gargling: Gargling is also a method of oral protection along with brushing. If your dentist finds you’re at high risk for tooth decay, he or she may recommend using a fluoride mouthwash.
Regular dental visits: Professional cleanings and regular dental exams can help prevent or detect dental problems early. Your dentist can recommend a routine dental exam that is best for you.
Limit snacking: Whenever you snack or drink beverages other than water, you help the bacteria in your mouth produce acids that can destroy tooth enamel. If you snack or drink sugary drinks continuously throughout the day, your teeth are under constant attack.
Eat foods that are good for your teeth: There are a number of foods and drinks that are good for your teeth. But still need to avoid letting food stick for a long time in the grooves and between the teeth, or brush your teeth right after eating. However, there are foods like fresh fruits and vegetables that help increase saliva flow, and unsweetened coffee, tea, and gum that help wash away food debris.
Ask your dentist about antibacterial treatments: If you’re particularly susceptible to tooth decay – such as due to a medical condition – your dentist may recommend a special antibacterial mouthwash or other treatments to help prevent tooth decay. Helps reduce harmful bacteria in your mouth.
Combination treatments such as Chewing gum containing xylitol along with prescription fluoride and antibacterial mouthwash can help reduce the risk of tooth decay.
These effective methods can help you prevent tooth decay and keep your tooth clean and healthy, make sure you take good care of your teeth before coming to any regret.
Top News hopes this article can help you learn more about how to prevent tooth decay and wishes your teeth stay strong and clean!
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