Tooth decay is still a common problem faced by many American children, teenagers and adults, despite advances in oral hygiene education and dental technology. This is unfortunate as tooth decay is a leading cause of tooth failure and tooth loss. So, how can we prevent this serious dental health problem? Read on to find out how you can work with your dentist to prevent tooth decay and protect your long-term dental health.
Practicing good oral hygiene at home on a daily basis is one of the most important things you can do to prevent tooth decay. This includes brushing your teeth thoroughly at least twice daily (morning and night) and flossing your teeth thoroughly at least once daily (at night before you go to bed). Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and limiting your intake of sugary drinks and candies can also help to protect your teeth from decay. Prolonged exposure to sports drinks, energy drinks and sticky candies can be especially harmful to your dental health. If you are going to consume these types of foods and beverages, it is important to brush your teeth or at least rinse your mouth with water afterwards.
To protect your teeth from decay, you should visit your dentist at least every six months for a professional cleaning and dental examination. During this time, your dentist can use a physical examination, an X-ray or even laser technology to detect tooth decay, before it has progressed enough to threaten the long-term health of your teeth. If tooth decay is detected and treated in its earliest form, it can usually be treated with a simple dental filling. If decay is not treated in a timely manner, it may require a more complicated procedure such as root canal therapy or a crown.
Interventional treatments such as dental sealants and fluoride treatments can also help to strengthen your teeth and prevent decay. Dental sealants are a highly effective preventive measure that can be used to protect the teeth in the back of the mouth from tooth decay or dental carries (cavities). The process involves applying a thin plastic coating to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth and allowing it to bond into the depressions and grooves of the teeth to form a protective shield over the enamel. Children, teenagers and adults without decay in their molars can all benefit from teeth sealants. Fluoride treatments are another interventional treatment that can be used to decrease your risk for developing tooth decay. Fluoride treatments are available in the form of mouth rinses. There are also fluoride treatments that can be painted on to the teeth during a routine dental examination. Both of these quick and painless procedures are offered by most family dental practices throughout the United States.
Americans are living longer and longer these days, and your teeth have to last you for a lifetime. For this reason, you might as well take good care of them! If you would like to get more information about preventing tooth decay in your teeth or your children’s teeth, talk to your dentist or dental hygienist today.