While you may well have had a filling at some point, tooth decay and cavities don’t have to be a given. Tooth decay happens when bacteria in your mouth comes into contact with the sugars and starches in your food and drink. The acid that forms can attack tooth enamel and, over time, cause it to break down and decay. Left alone, tooth decay can lead to gum disease and serious health problems. Fortunately, while you obviously can’t stop eating and remove the acids entirely, there are lots of things you can do to stop it leading to decay.
1. Brush and Floss Regularly
Your oral hygiene routine is one of the most important ways that we can reduce the risk of tooth decay. While you’re probably well aware that you should brush your teeth twice a day, are you sure you’re doing it well enough? You need to brush the inside surfaces, outside surfaces and chewing surfaces, and that should take around two minutes. And floss shouldn’t only be used for dislodging food that’s wedged between your teeth. Use it after you brush, and you will remove plaque that forms along the gum line.
2. Make Sure You Get Enough Fluoride
We’ve been putting fluoride in Australian tap water for over 70 years, and there is a very good reason. Fluoride is a superhero when it comes to preventing tooth decay, fighting against those acids that form when we eat and drink. However, you don’t want to depend on tap water alone. Make sure that you are using topical fluoride products that are applied directly to your teeth too, like toothpaste and mouthwash. While they may only be in your mouth for a short time, they raise fluoride levels for several hours after use, giving you added protection.
3. Eat a Nutritious Balanced Diet
You may well try to eat healthily, but do you know which foods are good for your teeth? Dairy products like cheese, yoghurt and milk are high in calcium. Leafy greens like kale and spinach are full of vitamins and minerals. Carrots and celery are a great source of fibre, vitamin C and vitamin A. All of these foods help you to produce saliva, which protects your teeth and keeps the enamel healthy. Typical snack foods, on the other hand, are high in sugar and expose your teeth to acid long after you’ve finished eating. It’s ok to treat yourself from time to time, of course, but if you can opt for apples or nuts instead of chocolates and biscuits, your teeth will thank you for it.
4. Pick Up Some Healthy Habits
Before you think about what habits might be good for your teeth, it’s time to assess which ones might be harming them. The number one culprit here is smoking. Not only is smoking bad for your lungs, it can produce more bacterial plaque, reduce the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream and impact your gums ability to heal. A good habit, on the other hand, is chewing sugar-free gum. The gum can help your mouth to produce extra saliva which will help to wash away any food debris in your mouth and fight against decay.
5. Visit Your Wollongong Dentist
By visiting your Wollongong dentist regularly, you can have your teeth professionally cleaned. More than that though, by having your teeth checked, you can catch any early signs of decay before they have a chance to take hold. And, if you do have a cavity, the sooner it’s treated, the better. Your dentist in Wollongong can also give you more personalised advice about preventing tooth decay. If you want to know what toothbrush would best suit you, how to floss correctly, or whether sealants could help protect your molars, your dentist is always the best person to ask.