Did you know that 25% of adults don’t brush their teeth twice a day, even though brushing only once makes tooth decay 33% more likely to form? Tooth decay prevention is important. Not only can cavities be painful, but they are also more expensive to fill than simple prevention measures. Here are three things you need to know about cavities, and what you can do to prevent tooth decay from occurring.
1. What are cavities, and why do they happen?
Like every part of your body, your mouth contains bacteria. When these bacteria eat the sugary foods and drinks left on your teeth, they produce acid that forms into dental plaque. The plaque begins to erode the minerals in your tooth enamel, the outer layer. The erosion causes holes to form, allowing bacteria and acid to journey further into your tooth. If nothing is done, they will continue onward to the nerves and blood vessels that are the tooth pulp, at which point you will start to experience pain from swelling and infection.
2. How can you prevent tooth decay?
Luckily, there are many tools in your arsenal so that you don’t need to get all those little holes filled in. As mentioned, brushing your teeth more than once a day, helps. Visiting a dentist every year reduces risk by 60%. Sealants, which are a plastic coating applied to your back teeth, help protect tooth grooves and are recommended for all children by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association reveals that drinking a class of milk, especially after eating cereal, can help reduce plaque because it alters the pH balance in mouths, making it a less acidic environment.
3. Foods that prevent cavities
Did you know that there are several foods that can actually help you keep the cavities at bay? Not surprisingly, sugary foods are not on the list. Instead, cheese, meat, nuts, and crunchy fruits can help protect tooth enamel. Xylitol, an ingredient found in some fruits as well as sugar free gum, is also helpful. Bacteria cannot consume xylitol, allowing the mouth to remineralize damaged teeth. Preventing tooth decay, in this case, can be as easy as popping in a stick of gum.
What tips do you have for tooth decay prevention? Let us know in the comments