Dental Blog - Billings, MT
Preventing Tooth Decay
Preventing Tooth Decay
When teeth decay, both the tooth surface and the lower layer called dentin can be affected. Tooth decay occurs when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches), such as breads, cereals, milk, soda, fruits, cakes, or candy are left on the teeth. Bacteria that live in the mouth digest these foods, turning them into acids which combined with food debris and saliva combine to form plaque, which clings to the teeth. The acids in plaque dissolve the enamel surface of the teeth, creating holes called cavities.
Brush your teeth a minimum of twice a day, especially morning and before bed, and preferably after every meal. Use a soft toothbrush and brush for a minimum of two minutes. A thirty second swipe won’t remove tartar. Using a battery powered toothbrush with a round head has been shown to remove more plaque. Be sure to buy one with the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. These have undergone rigorous quality control and safety tests.
Clean between teeth daily with dental floss or interdental cleaners such as brushes, water flossers, and flossing sticks. Flossing removes plaque between your teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach.
Choose tartar control toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride can help repair enamel damage.
Watch your diet. The bacteria in your mouth thrive on sugary and starchy foods and release harmful acids into your mouth. Every time you eat, you feed the bacteria in your mouth, so make your meals and snacks healthy. Remember that many fruits are high in sugar and carbohydrates.
Don’t smoke. Studies show that people who smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products are more likely to have tartar buildup.
Sip acid forming drinks like coffee and red wine through a straw to keep as much of the acid forming liquid away from your teeth as possible.
Once tartar has formed, it can only be removed by a dental professional. Visit your dentist every six months for cleaning, plaque removal, and an examination by the dentist to look for any other issues that may affect your teeth or your health.
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