How to Avoid Cavities and Gum Disease
Although your teeth are very hard, there are some things that you do that can damage your teeth and gums. Some of them can lead to rapid tooth decay and dental caries (cavities). By avoiding those things, it may be possible for you to prevent dental decay.
The Cause of Dental Decay
One of the main causes of teeth problems is the bacteria in your mouth. There are more than 700 kinds of bacteria that are usually present in your oral cavity – your mouth. Some of them are good for your teeth, some do not make a difference, and some are really bad for your pearly whites.
The bad bacteria in your mouth are largely what causes tooth decay. It accumulates every day as a white film on your teeth. It is called plaque. The reason it is bad is that when you eat carbs and sugars, this bacteria turn it into acid. The acid erodes the enamel on your teeth. It is also the bacteria that cause gum disease.
The other primary cause of tooth decay – which you control – is how much sugar you consume daily. The more sugar you eat, the more acid there will be in your mouth. If you sip sodas and specialty coffees all day, you are exposing your teeth to destructive acid all day. Some sodas have as much as nine teaspoons of sugar in each can – and their own acids.
How to Prevent Tooth Decay
Preventing tooth decay is largely in your hands. It is you that must take action to prevent it. Here are some steps that will show you how to prevent cavities.
Reduce Your Sugar Intake
Because the bad bacteria that produce the acid will always be in your mouth, you need to cut back on your sugar intake. Most Americans consume much more sugar than is healthy. Natural sugars really do not pose a problem, but the added artificial or refined sugars do. The American Heart Association (AHA) reveals that men should not eat more than 150 calories of added sugar per day (9 teaspoons), and women should not eat more than 100 calories each day (6 teaspoons).
When you have a dry mouth, this can damage your teeth and gums. The main reason is that saliva also helps to keep the bad bacteria under control. It washes some of it off your teeth and it also provides some minerals to help strengthen your teeth. A dry mouth will lead to cavities and gum disease if allowed to persist.
You can reduce your dry mouth symptoms by making sure you are hydrated, and by sipping water throughout the day. Some liquids are diuretics, which mean they help you eliminate water from your body. Coffee, tea, alcohol, and drinks with a lot of sugar in them will all have this effect. They will dry out your mouth more than if you drank regular water.
Not Eating Healthy Foods
Besides being heavy on the sugars and carbs, many foods that Americans regularly eat usually lack enough nutrients to keep family members healthy. The vitamins and minerals you gain by eating more fruits and vegetables help to stop tooth decay by ensuring that your body has enough of the right nutrients to strengthen your teeth. The same nutrients will also strengthen your immune system and help it to fight off gum disease and oral cancers.
Some foods are healthy for your teeth because they provide the nutrients your teeth need, or they help control the bad bacteria. Cheese and yogurt, apples, and leafy greens are among the most beneficial.
Lack of Proper Oral Hygiene
Developing good oral hygiene habits can help your teeth to last longer. Brushing your teeth twice a day will remove the plaque from your teeth. In order to do it right, though, you need to brush for at least two minutes each time. Flossing is also necessary because it will remove the food, sugars, and bacteria, from in between your teeth.
Proper oral hygiene can also help you prevent gum disease. It will keep the bacteria away from your teeth, and help prevent inflammation, too.
Foods that are sticky, such as candies and sweets, are also bad for your teeth. Sticky foods enable the bad bacteria to produce acid directly on your tooth's surface for longer periods of time. These foods will also stay in between your teeth longer and they are harder to remove.
Get Regular Dental Checkups
When you want to prevent tooth decay, it is largely up to you. However, if and when dental problems do develop, you want them taken care of quickly. Regular visits to the dentist can enable problems to be spotted quickly – and treated quickly. This helps to minimize both the work that needs to be done and the cost. Letting problems become worse will only mean it will cost more to repair it.
If you need tooth decay treatment for dental problems that have already developed, and if you live in the Carrollton, TX or Grapevine, TX areas, Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board-certified Periodontist can help you. He provides many dental services and also treats gum problems. For more information about his dental services and how you can prevent tooth decay, or to set up an appointment, you can call his office today at (817) 756-8578.