Top 5 allies against tooth decay

November 27, 2013

At your first suspicion of tooth decay, you should get to a dentist, and fast. Getting a cavity filled quickly can prevent a lot of pain and infection.

Top 5 allies against tooth decay

Tooth decay is one of the main reasons we go see the dentist. The appearance of tooth decay, also called dental caries or cavities, consists of small holes that form on the surface enamel of the teeth. Bacteria are the bad guys here, at least the kind that proliferate in the presence of sugary food particles stuck in the teeth.

Other factors can contribute to the problem, including a person’s diet, tooth brushing habits, quality of saliva, and immune system. And while those factors may vary, you can always count on the pain of a cavity.

1.   The toothbrush

Of course, the old idiom ‘‘anounce of prevention is wortha poundofcure’’ takes on its full meaning when it comes to tooth decay. Dentists and dental hygienists recommend brushing the teeth a minimum of twice or, ideally, three times a day. Brushing dislodges food particles caught in the teeth and under the gums, and the fluoride contained in adult toothpaste helps protect the tooth’s enamel.

2.   Dental floss

Daily flossing is also recommended. Dental floss allows for proper cleaning between the teeth and under the gums that surround the teeth, something the toothbrush can’t do. In addition to preventing cavities between the teeth, dental floss stimulates the gums and helps prevent gingivitis, or gum disease.

3.   Mouthwash

Cavity prevention wouldn’t be complete without the daily use of a mouthwash. Mouthwash eliminates the bacteria that produce tooth decay, as well as bad breath, making it a precious ally for good oral health.

4.   Consultations

A professional cleaning performed by a dental hygienist should take place every six months. A check-up and a cleaning help to determine the condition of the teeth, enamel, occlusion, gums, and tongue. These regular consultations make it easier to take preventive action and help with the early detection of any problems that may occur.

With a bit of information on the medical history and lifestyle of the patient, the dentist and the hygienist are able to give personalized advice and treatment. If a patient is on medication, if he smokes or drinks alcohol on a regular basis, if she experiences intense stress, or if other members of the family have multiple cavities, a more regular follow-up schedule might be recommended by the dentist.

5.   Personalized treatment

Once a cavity is identified, it is absolutely necessary to have it treated by a dentist. In truth, tooth decay does not heal itself and only a dentist is capable of halting its progression. A quick repair will prevent the decay from progressing into the pulp of the tooth and causing damage to the surrounding teeth. Getting a cavity filled promptly also helps prevent infection and any complications that could arise from a neglected cavity.

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