Although widespread, tooth decay is one of the most preventable health conditions. As long as you look after your teeth well and visit your dentist regularly i.e. every 6 months, you should be able to prevent tooth decay. Did you know that the children of most dentists have none or very few fillings? If you know what to do you can prevent fillings.
If you are unsure as to what tooth decay is and its process please read our previous blog.
There are also some changes you can make to your diet to minimise your risk of tooth decay.
Tooth decay is more likely if your diet is high in sugar. It is also far more likely if you have a higher frequency of sugary snacks in a day than if you have a high dose of sugar in one sitting. Cutting down on sugary food and drinks, particularly between meals or within one hour of going to bed will decrease your risk of decay. The best time to have a sweet food is as a pudding immediately after your main meal.
Effective tooth brushing i.e. brushing for 2 minutes twice daily with the correct technique and fluoridated toothpaste can also contribute towards reducing incidence of tooth decay. An electric brush is usually better at cleaning your mouth than a manual toothbrush. In addition, flossing is an important part of oral hygiene. If spaces are bigger you may need special small interdental brushes(tepee) rather than floss. It removes plaque and food particles from between your teeth and under the gum line – areas a toothbrush cannot always reach. You should clean between your teeth at least once a day with floss and then also visit a hygienist to have anything you have missed removed. A dentist and hygienist can give you personal tailored cleaning advice to help reduce your risk of tooth decay.
Straightening your teeth eg. via orthodontics can also help you to keep your mouth clean and reduce your risk of tooth decay. Your dentist can also perform fissure sealants, which is a simple pain free way to smooth the biting surface of your molar teeth. This reduces the amount of plaque building up and therefore reduces your risk of decay on one of the most prone areas in the mouth. Ask your dental professional for more advice.