Tooth decay can happen to anyone. It stems from poor oral health practices and can have some seriously painful and costly effects. One person who can stand between one and tooth decay is the dentist. He or she can help to prevent tooth decay and promote great oral health.
Before we start discussing how exactly a dentist can prevent tooth decay, let us explain what tooth decay is and what causes it.
What is tooth decay
Tooth decay happens when the hard outer layer of the teeth, called the enamel, is destroyed or disintegrates. This condition can happen to both children and adults and leads to cavities or holes in the teeth. Though they are small at first, if left untreated, the cavities widen and become painful and can even lead to the loss of the tooth.
What causes tooth decay
Tooth decay is caused by a substance called “plaque”. Plaque is essentially an accumulation of bacteria from food and saliva that bonds to the teeth and eats away at the enamel if proper oral hygiene is not observed. This leads to cavities, which acts as a channel for plaque to attack the dentin and then the pulp which contains blood vessel and nerves.
Now that there is an understanding of what tooth decay is and how it is caused, it is time to explore preventative measures and the dentist’s role in all this.
How dentists can help prevent tooth decay
No matter how good someone thinks they are at cleaning their mouth, they will never be able to accomplish a proper clean without the help of a dentist. A dentist has all the proper equipment, training and expertise when it comes to oral health and will be able to detect any early signs of tooth decay and nip it in the bud.
Dental Treatments (Sealants)
For those who are highly susceptible to tooth decay and have had fillings or root canals, the dentist can apply sealants to the teeth in order to seal them and prevent plaque from causing serious damage.
Along with a clean, dentists provide very useful advice when it comes to oral hygiene. Here are a few tips:
Using Fluoride Toothpaste: Fluoride toothpaste contains a very important mineral for maintaining and strengthening the teeth. Fluoride is able to prevent cavities by preventing decay, repairing weak areas and promotes remineralization of the enamel.
Brushing regularly: This should be obvious but many people ignore this rule. Dentists recommend that brushing your teeth should occur at least twice daily, for a minimum of two minutes. They also recommend flossing and the use of mouthwash after brushing your teeth. Doing all three should be sufficient to stop or slow down tooth decay.
Watching what you eat: One’s diet is an important part of their oral health. By reducing the amount of sugar and acids that are consumed, there will be a noticeable effect when it comes to oral health. Calcium, phosphorus, and potassium are all important minerals in promoting good oral health. Vitamins A, C, D, and K are also super important.
The bottom line
If one wants to prevent tooth decay, their dentist must be their go-to. Not only will the dentist be able to prevent tooth decay for patients, but the dentist will also be able to teach one how to prevent it themselves.