Tooth decay is caused by sugar reacting with plaque. The bacteria in plaque then produce acids which wear away at the tooth’s enamel.
Nobody likes tooth decay. It’s unsightly, causes bad breath, causes sensitive teeth and can often lead to a toothache. In extreme cases, teeth also may need to be extracted – which isn’t pleasant and can be costly.
There are several steps that you can take to avoid tooth decay. Here are just ten tips for fighting tooth decay and keeping your teeth healthy.
Brush your teeth regularly
Regular tooth brushing is the most effective way of warding off tooth decay. It’s recommended that you brush twice per day – morning and night – for two minutes each time.
How you brush your teeth is also important. A lot of people using a vigorous back and forth style of brushing, but it’s better to actually brush each tooth individually using small circles. Turn the bristles towards the root of the tooth so that you’re cleaning the whole tooth.
On top of cleaning the teeth, it’s worth cleaning the gums, tongue, and inside of cheeks too. Keeping a clean mouth will help you to keep clean teeth.
Replace your brush every four months
After four months of brushing, the bristles on a toothbrush can become worn. After this time they may not be as effective at cleaning off plaque. Make sure to replace your toothbrush after this period (or buy a new toothbrush head if you use an electric toothbrush).
Flossing can help to release food debris and plaque from between teeth. You should use specialist dental floss such as this Oral B dental floss to do this – simply pull the floss in between each tooth, but do so gently enough that you don’t damage the gum.
Smoking can contribute to tooth decay. Smoking weakens your body’s defense against gum infection. Such infections can spread into the teeth and lead to decay. On top of causing decay, nicotine, and tar in cigarettes stain the enamel resulting in yellowing.
There are lots of ways to quit smoking, which you can read up on here at Web MD. Vaping is a popular way to give up and is a lot healthier for your teeth than smoking, but you should take care as it can lead to a dry mouth (less saliva means that the teeth have no way of cleaning themselves).
Drink less soft drinks
Soft drinks are full of sugar and are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to tooth decay. This sugar often gets coated on every tooth, where it begins to start decaying the teeth. By reducing your consumption of sugary drinks you can reduce the likeliness of tooth decay.
There are lots of sugar-free alternatives that you can try – some of these may still contain colorants that can stain the teeth, so bear this in mind.
Drink more water
Water is the healthiest liquid for your teeth. It can help to clean your teeth and prevent a dry mouth (helping you to produce saliva that will further clean your teeth).
Try to drink more glasses of water than glasses of soft drink per day. Avoid flavored waters with sugar in as some of these contain just as much sugar as soft drinks, despite appearing like the healthier option.
Cut down on potato chips
Potato chips can often get stuck in our molars and cause tooth decay here. Many of us don’t realize that they are also full of sugar (even those that seem quite salty), which is why they can be such a problem.
Certain crunchy foods can be good for teeth as they can help to clean them. This includes nuts and crunchy vegetables. These could be a better substitute if you’re looking for something crunchy to snack on.
Chew sugarless gum between meals
Chewing gum between meals can help to loosen up plaque and reduce tooth decay. It also helps with the production of saliva, helping to keep your mouth clean.
You should make sure to only use sugarless gum, otherwise, you’re just putting sugar back onto your teeth. There are lots of these brands around such as this EXTRA sugarless gum.
See your dentist regularly
Visiting your dentist for regular check-ups can allow you to spot the signs of decay early. This could allow you to then make adjustments to your dental hygiene.
A dentist may also be able to clean off any tartar that could lead to tooth decay. Not visiting your dentist regularly could allow this tartar to build up and become more of a serious problem.
By shopping around for dental treatment, you may be able to cut costs. Some dental practices such as Your Dentist Darwin offer deals for families. Other dentists may have other deals that you can take advantage of.
Don’t ignore a toothache
Toothache is usually a clear sign of tooth decay or infection. Ignoring it is likely to cause it to get worse. In fact, if you’ve got an infection, it could spread to other teeth.
It’s sometimes possible to cure a toothache early with some antibiotics. If you leave it, you’ll likely end up requiring root canal treatment or worse a tooth extraction. If the infection has been left to spread to multiple teeth, you may even have to get multiple teeth removed. All in all, it’s a sensible move to get a toothache seen to as soon as possible.