One of the most common reasons that patients seek treatment beyond routine dentistry care is for cavities. This oral disease is particularly common in children, but adults can develop tooth decay as well. The key to tooth decay prevention is effective oral hygiene maintenance at home and staying on top of exams and cleanings with your dentist.
Your home oral hygiene habits are the keystone of a healthy, cavity-free smile. Everyone should brush twice a day, for two minutes each time, to reduce the presence of plaque in the mouth. That plaque contains the oral bacteria that attack tooth enamel and cause decay. Additionally, flossing daily helps to reduce your chances of developing tartar along the gumline. Tartar is an accumulation of hardened plaque that cannot be removed by brushing and flossing. If you do develop tartar, it can only be removed by a professional cleaning at a dentistry practice.
That brings us to our next tip. Be sure to schedule check-ups and cleanings with your dentist every six months (or more frequently if recommended). This professional dentistry care will clear out any lingering plaque and tartar. It’s hard for you to reach certain parts of your smile to clean thoroughly, and a hygienist has a better angle on those spots and can use specialized instruments to remove tartar.
If a cavity is detected at one of these routine check-ups, don’t delay treatment. Decay will only spread if it is left untreated, and you may find yourself in need of a more extensive restoration, like a crown, if you wait. Small cavities can usually be treated by fillings, though.
Your diet may also be associated with tooth decay. Sugar is a natural nutrition source for oral bacteria, so if you limit sweet treats – especially the ones that leave sticky residue on your teeth – you’ll be cutting off the energy the bacteria need to wreak havoc on your smile. A diet inclusive of various vitamins and minerals will also benefit your smile, as well as the rest of your body.
Tooth decay is preventable if you take the right steps. Contact Howl Dental at 918-749-1626 to ask for additional advice on how to reduce your risk of cavities or bring up this subject at your next check-up. We’re happy to give you any information you may need to keep your smile as healthy as possible.