Did you know that when it comes to oral health, your teeth play a major role? Your teeth have a protective layer known as enamel. Enamel is one of the hardest substances in your body, but it can be worn out if exposed to acidic substances over a long period. After eating, bacteria in your mouth can use any sugar or carbohydrates left to make acid which will wear your enamel. When these bacteria wear away your protective layer, a cavity will develop on your teeth. You should note that once your enamel has been affected, it does not regenerate or grow back. This makes it crucial to protect your enamel against cavity development.

What is a Cavity?

When a hole develops in your tooth, it is known as a cavity, dental caries, or tooth decay. During its early stages, a cavity looks like a white spot, and it’s treatable; however, if a dentist does not look into this white spot, it will continue to wear your enamel off, and with time, it will turn brown or black color.

Tooth decay can form in any size, whether big or small and develops mainly in areas used for biting, like on top of your molar. Although tooth decay can also affect almost everyone, it is not confined to teenagers or adults, like young children who are yet to lose their milk teeth can also suffer from dental cavities. If left untreated, cavities can lead to pain, poor health, infections, and sometimes you may end up losing your teeth. Therefore, it is essential to prevent cavities from forming, and this article will highlight prevention measures. These include:

Brushing your Teeth after Every Meal

Though this might look like an obvious tip, something you grew up knowing, it's one of the most effective ways of preventing tooth decay. When carried out diligently, it will ensure that you enjoy great oral health. You may have grown to know that it is important to brush your teeth after every meal and to floss regularly, but do you know the reason behind it? There are over millions of microbes in your mouth that recycle any left-over food or drink after you eat.

These microbes can cause tooth decay when they feed on the sugar from the food you eat or drink. After feeding on the sugars from your mouth, these bacteria leave behind their waste product known as a biofilm. This waste product is also known as dental plaque, and it allows the microbes to stick to your teeth for a longer period.

Over time, the microbes will make an acid on your teeth, leading to tooth decay due to enamel erosion. In addition, if these cavities are not treated on time, the bacteria could spread diseases to other body parts. The spread could result in complications, especially in patients with chronic illnesses like heart conditions and diabetes.

Brushing Often Helps in Prevention of Bacteria Build up

By brushing teeth often, you will prevent the continous build-up of bacteria in your mouth. Since bacteria require to stay in your mouth in order to produce the harmful acid, if you reduce their stay in your mouth, you will be preventing them from building up. This will essentially protect your enamel from wearing out. Packing a paste kit and an extra toothbrush that you can use at your place of work after taking your lunch can also be helpful in the prevention of bacteria buildup. Additionally, you use an antimicrobial mouthwash which will aid in clearing the bacteria away and also ensure you enjoy having a fresh breath.

When Brushing, Apply Proper Brushing Techniques

According to the American Dental Association, it is crucial to use the following brushing techniques, which will ensure your chances of having dental decay are minimal:

  • Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush while brushing.

  • While brushing, ensure your toothbrush is at 45 degrees against your gums. Brush gently in a back and forth manner using tooth-wide strokes. Ensure you brush both the outer and inner surfaces of your teeth.

  • Ensure you apply gentle pressure while brushing, as this will help reduce the risk of contracting gingival injury.

  • Always brush your tongue to freshen up your breath and at the same time to remove bacteria.

  • When brushing the inside side of your front teeth, use the tip of the brush, and use the up and down strokes to ensure the surfaces are clean.

  • Always remember to replace your toothbrush after every three months.

Consult Your Dentist to know your Dental Decay Risk Level

The first step in preventing dental decay is knowing your risk level. You can only find out about your risk level after visiting your dentist for a comprehensive dental checkup. Regular dental checkups with your dentist will let you know of your risk factor regarding tooth decay, and at the same time, you will know if you are suffering from any oral health problems. In addition, your dentist will advise you on the proper methods to prevent tooth decay, treatment needed, and if there is a need to have a diet or lifestyle change.

Once you are aware of your risk factor, it is easy to control your oral health and overcome any challenges that may hinder you from having the best oral health. Also, when you know your cavity risk factor, your dentist will advise you on how to effectively improve your oral health by having a specific approach to your problem. For example, when you have a low-risk factor, your dental office visits will be few, but you will need to visit your dentist more often to take care of the situation with a high-risk factor.

Make it a Habit to Floss your Teeth Often

You should note that your teeth have five surfaces that need regular cleaning. When you use a brush to clean your teeth, you take care of three of its surfaces. To attain complete oral health, you will need to clean all five surfaces of the teeth. To achieve this, you will need to floss regularly, a habit that most people find daunting.

When you floss, all you need is a cord made from a synthetic material that you will use to remove leftover food, a plaque from between your teeth, and germs from surfaces where brushing doesn't reach.

Flossing is generally done near your gum line and between your teeth, where you cannot easily brush or clean. Though flossing is crucial in attaining oral health, most people do not know how to floss correctly, and you will realize over time that it is something doable. When you start flossing, the following steps will be of much assistance:

  • Break 18 inches off your synthetic material, and wind or twist it on one of your middle fingers. Wind or twist the remaining floss on the middle finger of the other hand.

  • Then hold the synthetic material between your thumb and middle finger firmly.

  • Take the floss, using a gentle circular motion, and start cleaning between the teeth ensuring that you do not harm your gum in the process.

  • Do this to all the teeth and avoid harming your gum by forming or bending the floss near the gum.

  • While flossing, remember always to use an upward and downward motion and hold the floss against your teeth to gently clean them, do this even to your molars as well.

  • Dispose of the floss well once you are done.

Importance of Flossing

Regular flossing will ensure you attain excellent oral health and reap the following benefits:

  • Helps in Dental Plaque Removal

Once you start flossing regularly, you will reduce the high chances of plaque forming in your teeth. Flossing ensures that all sides of a tooth are well cleaned; you clean the areas where a regular brush cannot reach and where most microbes can grow and thrive. So, once you make it a habit to floss daily, you will be actively protecting your teeth against plaque formation, which leads to the formation of dental caries or cavities. The trick is starting flossing, and once you have made it part of your daily routine, it will be too ingrained to forget.

  • Helps in the Overall Health of your Body

When you start experiencing teeth or gum problems, it is clear that something is not right with your body. Sometimes gum diseases are related to other chronic diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory illness, and even stroke. Recent research shows an increasing connection between heart problems with periodontal diseases. Therefore, it is essential to take care of your oral health and notice any signs of sickness to seek immediate medical attention.

  • You will Have Stronger Teeth

When you make flossing your habit, you will end up making your teeth stronger and healthier. Of course, brushing your teeth regularly is not enough to prevent gum problems, but you reduce the chances of contracting oral or gum diseases when you add flossing.

  • You will Save Money on Dentist Fees

You will realize that visiting a dentist will cost you money, especially with the current rise in health care prices. But if you make it a habit to floss and brush your teeth regularly, you will have reduced most visits to your dentist, and this will end up saving you money.

  • Flossing Will Prevent Gum Bleeding

If you notice your gum bleeding, it is a clear indication that you have periodontal disease. With regular flossing, you will be cleaning the area surrounding your gum line, which has a high chance of bleeding. When you notice that your gum is bleeding, you should consult your dentist immediately so that they can advise you on the necessary steps to take.

If you follow your dentist’s instructions, the chances are that you will help curb any oral health issue that may crop up and at the same time receive treatment for any infection. Regular flossing also helps curb bad breath, which will significantly improve your self-confidence as you go about your daily routine.

  • You will Enjoy Fresh Breath

Flossing will significantly help prevent having a bad breath, and you will enjoy having fresh breath throughout the day. According to dentists, the leading cause of bad breath, also known as halitosis, is the growth of bacteria found between your teeth. Therefore, it is advisable to brush twice daily or after every meal while flossing once a day. With regular brushing and flossing, you will be reducing the growth of these bacteria, which will ensure you have fresh breath. In addition, with a fresh breath, you will go about your day with confidence, making you more productive.

Cutting Back on Your Sugary Intake and Drink lots Of Water

Are you one of those people who cannot function without your morning dose of caffeine or that hot cup of chocolate? Research shows that prolonged use of acidic drinks like coffee and tea combined with sugar will increase your chances of having cavities. So you should take your coffee or tea but try to take it within the shortest time possible and then use water to rinse your mouth afterward.

You will realize that if you enjoy your sugary drink, the harmful sugar in the drink will stay longer in your saliva, thereby increasing the chances of plaque formation. If you must take your morning dose of sugary drink, try to use a straw that will help keep most sugars away from your gum and teeth. Make a habit of drinking lots of water, since water is one of the healthiest drinks you can take.

Since over 60% of our body is made up of water, staying hydrated will significantly assist your body in the distribution of nutrients, removal of waste products, and at the same time giving you a healthy glow. Also, try taking water that has fluoridated, as this will help keep your teeth healthy.

Avoid or Quit Smoking

It is a well-known fact that tobacco smoking leads to most medical problems. Smoking leads to diseases and harms most body organs in the process. However, you may not be aware of the health risk posed by the oral use of tobacco to your gum, mouth, and teeth. Smoking will do more to your mouth than just stain your teeth; it can lead to teeth loss, gum disease, and sometimes even oral cancer. Research shows that over 16 million people in America are suffering from diseases caused by smoking.

Consider Having Dental Sealants

A dental sealant is a protective layer that your dentist can apply on your chewing surfaces. This protective layer will seal off crannies and grooves on your back teeth where most leftover food collects. Once this leftover food lacks a place to gather, bacteria cannot hide in your mouth, and this will reduce the high chances of plaque formation. Though sealants have a long life span, it is crucial to make regular visits to your dentist.

Take Teeth-Healthy Food and Drinks

Eat teeth-healthy food as they are better for your teeth. Try to avoid taking food that will stick to your teeth notches and crannies, and if you take them, remember to brush soon afterward. Make a habit of eating many vegetables and fresh fruit as they will increase the flow of saliva in your mouth. If you can take unsweetened tea or coffee, the better for you as these drinks will help wash away any left-over food particles.

Avoiding Constant Snacking between Meals

Your mouth bacteria usually thrive on the leftover foods left in your mouth after you eat. The bacteria will create acid, which over time will wear your teeth’ enamel out. When you keep snacking between meals, chances are you won’t have time to brush or even floss after the snack. By brushing your teeth, the bacteria will have accumulated enough acid to harm your teeth and gum.

Consider Having Fluoride Treatment

If you are not obtaining enough fluoride in your drinking water, your dentist may advise you to take a fluoride treatment. If your cavity risk is very high, your dentist may recommend you to have custom-made trays fitted on your teeth. These trays will be used in the application of the prescribed fluoride.

Contact a Dentist Near Me

Dental health is crucial to your overall well-being. When you suspect that you have dental decay or experience some pain in your teeth, you want to seek a dentist’s help. Some of the symptoms of dental cavities can lead to serious health complications if not treated on time. Your dentist could recommend preventive measures or develop a treatment plan that suits you.

At Ganji Dental, we have many treatment options for patients with cavities. Also, we have been helping patients to prevent dental cavities for many years. If you seek dental services in Hawthorne, you do not have to worry about the initial cost, as we offer non-obligatory consultations at no cost. Kindly feel free to contact us at 310-643-8045 and book an appointment today.