Tooth decay refers to a type of dental damage caused by the natural bacteria in your mouth. When oral bacteria find a weak spot in your enamel, the outer layer of the tooth, it will eat away at your tooth. When it wears a hole in the tooth’s surface, dentists refer to it as a cavity.
Many of us will suffer from a cavity at some point. While a dentist can treat this decay with a dental filling, you should preserve as much of your natural smile as possible. You can accomplish this by prioritizing preventative oral health care.
A dentist can detect early signs of tooth decay, and there are ways to reverse this damage before it becomes a cavity. Read on to learn three ways you can fight tooth decay and protect your dental health.
Limit Acidic Substances in Your Diet
Your teeth can weaken and become susceptible to decay due to enamel erosion caused by certain foods you eat. Acidic foods and beverages, like citrus fruits and juices, can eat away at your teeth so that bacteria can infiltrate the tooth with greater ease.
Enamel does not grow back once it weakens. You can work with your dentist to restore damaged teeth, but you can also take action to prevent further erosion in your enamel. Limit acidic substances in your diet to avoid this dental damage.
Sugar becomes acidic when it reacts with saliva within the mouth, so you should consume less sugary items as well. Tobacco products also have acid that can hurt your teeth. You can talk to your dentist to learn examples of foods that can strengthen your teeth rather than weaken them.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Throughout your day, your mouth will naturally produce a film of plaque on your teeth. Bacteria thrive in plaque and can begin to eat at your teeth if the film lingers on your smile. You will want to remove plaque and other residues from your teeth in a timely fashion through oral hygiene. Otherwise, you could face a greater risk of tooth decay.
Brush your teeth twice a day and floss on a daily basis to complete good oral hygiene at home. Stick to a consistent schedule using purposeful techniques to keep your smile as clean as possible. To maximize oral hygiene, make sure you attend routine professional teeth cleanings at your dentist’s office as well.
Consider Fluoride Treatment
Fluoride is a mineral found naturally in many foods and drinks you consume, like tap water. Fluoride absorbs into your teeth where it can fortify your enamel, making your smile more resistant to tooth decay. This benefit to your oral health is why dentists recommend using toothpaste and mouthwash that contains fluoride.
Your dentist can also provide you with a fluoride treatment at their office. They apply a paste, gel, or rinse to your teeth featuring concentrated fluoride for targeted and thorough protection for your smile. Discover if this preventative dental treatment can help your smile by contacting your dentist today.