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How To Prevent Tooth Decay

Theres no question that your teeth play an integral role in your day to day existence

. From eating to talking to smiling, the healthier your teeth are, the more pleasant such activities are sure to be. While most people are peripherally aware of the importance of preventing tooth decay, many dont realize how destructive tooth decay can be until its too late. It is extremely important for people to be aware of the implications of tooth decay. Dentists emphasize to their patients that the best way to tackle tooth decay is to prevent it from happening in the first place, and offer the following tips on how to do so:

Re-learn proper oral hygiene

Although we are usually taught at a young age to brush twice daily and floss our teeth regularly, as we get older, we often need to be reminded how to do so. Many people have a tendency to do a "quick brush" of their teeth as theyre running out the door or heading to bed. The fact of the matter is that poor or improper brushing techniques can being ineffective in preventing decay. When brushing, you should not only brush the front and back surfaces of each tooth, but make an effort to reach in between the teeth. You should also make sure to brush along the gum line, which is where most plaque buildup tends to occur. And of course, flossing is also an effective method of cleaning in between the teeth.

On top of brushing your teeth in the morning and again at night, it is a good idea to also brush after meals, especially if you feel like you have something stuck in your teeth. The longer food stays trapped in those crevices between your teeth, the more likely it is for bacteria to seep in and cause problems. If you dont have time to brush your entire mouth during the day, then sneak away for a few seconds and use floss to clear out those pesky food particles.

Another problem with oral hygiene is the fact that people tend to make the mistake of brushing with the wrong type of toothbrush. For maximum efficiency, ask your dentist to identify a brush that will work best for your mouth. Some dentists tend to recommend electric toothbrushes because they are able to clean the teeth on a deeper level than regular toothbrushes. While electric brushes cost more than their standard drugstore counterparts, they do have a tendency to be far more effective in preventing tooth decay.

Visit your dentist as scheduled

Even if your oral hygiene habits are truly top notch, your daily routine cannot take the place of regularly-scheduled dental visits. Be sure to see your dentist for a cleaning at least twice a year, and allow your dental office to take x-rays as necessary. Some people tend to avoid x-rays (and in some cases, regular cleanings) because of the cost involved. If you dont have dental insurance (which generally covers a certain number of x-rays a year), then talk to your dentist. Chances are, youll be able to work out a payment plan. Remember, with the proper examination, a dentist can nip tooth decay issues in the bud before they turn into more complicated and costly affairs.

Eat healthy foods and stay away from sugar

While this tidbit of information might be a no-brainer to some, many people have a tendency to fail to follow such advice. The more sugar you ingest, the more unhealthy, plaque-inducing bacteria you introduce into your mouth. Of course, no dentist would expect you to completely cut sugar out of your diet, but you can eat sugar in moderation. You can also make an effort to brush your teeth after a sugar-gulping session to limit the extent to which harmful bacteria can build up.

Ask about fluoride

Some areas have larger concentrations of fluoride in their water supplies than others. Since fluoride can strengthen the teeth, it never hurts to ask your dentist if a supplemental fluoride treatment is right for you. Many fluoride treatments are inexpensive and can be given in as little as 60 seconds, making this a good choice in the event that a dentist recommends it.

Tooth decay can be a serious problem, but it can also be an avoidable problem given the right effort and approach. If you care about your teeth, then promise yourself to commit to proper maintenance and upkeep. Your tooth-friendly routine might take some getting used to, but your reward will come in the form of a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.

The information in the article is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.

by: Jack Elder
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