Tooth decay is the most common disease entity for adults and children alike. You need to understand the process of tooth decay to prevent it. Prevention is better than cure. Toot decay is preventable.
For tooth decay to happen, you need four elements:
1- Toot structure; if you have porcelain, or dentures, they will not get decayed, but remember that there is a tooth under that porcelain that can indeed get decay.
2- Sugar material, this is what gets transformed into acid by the next element:
3- bacteria. you cannot eliminate bacteria from your mouth, they colonize our moths via food and air. they form a layer called dental plaque and use the sugar to produce acid
4- Time; the bacteria need time to digest the sugar and produce acid. then time is needed for the acid to break down your tooth.
once the tooth starts to desolve under the effect of acid, it gets weaker and starts to break down forming a hole “cavity” in your tooth
so prevention starts with breaking the cycle.
How to work on these elements to prevent tooth decay:
1- tooth structure:
a- first try to make this tooth less exposed to food, so try not to snack between meals
b- try to keep your tooth, plaque-free by brushing after meals and flossing.
c- use Xylitol gum, this substance prevents the bacteria from adhering to your tooth structure.
d- don’t miss your routine check and clean, keeping your tooth surface smooth free of calculus means less chance for germs to adhere to it.
e- keep checking old fillings and crowns. if the dentist sees a rough margin of a filling, better fix it.
f- make sure to clean the margins of crowns. these are rough surfaces and bacteria adhere to them easily.
g- ask us to place fissure sealants on your teeth. to prevent bacteria from colonizing these fissures that are out of reach, even for your tooth brush.
h- make sure to use fluoridated tooth paste, that strengthens your tooth structure, and also don’t miss your 6 monthly fluoride application.
2- Sugar material
a- always go for the sugar-free option.
b- avoid snacking between meals
c- after each meal, brush your teeth, to get rid of residual sugar.
d- Sugar-less gum. this encourages salivation, which washes your teeth. use Xylitol gum, Xylitol has also been shown to help remineralize our teeth’s enamel
a- brush at least twice a day for two minutes each time. to get rid of dental plaque
b- floss once a day to remove the bacteria between teeth
c- use anti-bacterial mouth wash.These oral rinses are designed to decrease cavity causing bacteria in the mouth while utilizing fluoride to strengthen enamel against breakdown. If brushing and flossing is done properly, use of an oral rinse should complete the protection against tooth decay
Other preventive measures:
– For snacks: best snacks for your dental health include raw vegetables, fruits, and nut. Apples are the perfect snack for dental health as they act as a tooth cleaner and whitener. They are able to clean your teeth by the abrasive action of the skin and hard inner surface of the apple, they have malic acid which helps remove surface stain and keep teeth whiter. So next time you are looking for a midday snack pick up an apple.
– Fluoridated water
This very important for children. However use water that has been fluoridated by the local council, as excessive fluoride can be harmful to your teeth.
Tooth decay is preventable juts by following simple rules and keeping in mind that your teeth can suffer from what you do and what you eat. Make sure to keep your dental visits. Maybe one day, we will have a generation free of tooth decay . Until then, we need to follow the steps above to maintain good oral health.
Articles are written by Dr M Hajarat.