Friday, January 17, 2014

Are You Doing Everything You Can to Fight Cavities?

Tooth decay and cavities lead to more than just expensive dental visits- they can lead to a whole list of health problems. Luckily, there are many simple ways you can combat cavities every day. Ask yourself these ten questions to make sure you're doing everything you can to avoid tooth decay.

Do you suffer from dry mouth?

Chronic dry mouth, or Xerostomia, can be caused by dehydration, anxiety, smoking, certain medications, or diseases that damage the salivary glands. Saliva is your body's natural method of keeping your teeth clean, so when there's not enough present, cavities can occur more easily. Discovering the underlying cause of your dry mouth will help you to avoid future complications.

Do you keep gum handy?

Chewing sugarless gum after meals helps to stimulate the salivary glands, producing more saliva to wash away food particles that may otherwise stick around feed bacteria.

Do you use a mouthwash?

Mouthwash is often overlooked as an important step in our daily dental routine. After brushing and flossing, use a mouthwash once or twice a day to access all the tiny nooks and crannies that your toothbrush and floss can't get to. Don't rinse your mouth out with water after using your mouthwash, and avoid food and drinks for about half an hour.

Are you getting enough fluoride?

Fluoride helps strengthen teeth and reduces bacteria's ability to produce the acid which causes tooth decay. Many cities in the US include fluoride in the tap water, but if your city doesn't or you don't drink tap water, make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride.

Have you considered sealants?

Many people receive sealants on their back molars as children. A thin, durable plastic covering is applied over the tooth, then hardens and bonds to the enamel to keep food and bacteria out of the creases in those teeth. These sealants can last for several years, and your dentist can reapply them when necessary. Even if you didn't get sealants as a child or teen, they can be helpful to cavity-prone adults as well.

Are you seeing your dentist on a regular basis?

Your bi-annual dentist visit is one of your most powerful weapons against tooth decay. Dentists can detect conditions developing that you may not notice, and will be able to catch cavities early if you have them. Early detection makes decay and other problems much easier to deal with.

Do you rinse after eating?

While it's not always practical to brush after every meal, one simple thing you can do to help fight cavities is to rinse your mouth with water after eating. A thorough water rinse will help dislodge any food particles or residue from your meal.

Do you keep snacking to a minimum?

Every time you eat, your teeth are exposed to the carbohydrates that bacteria use to produce acid, which eats away at tooth enamel. Snacking all day long exposes your teeth to a constant source of decay-causing sugars and carbohydrates, especially if you're snacking on sweet foods. If you are going to eat desserts or sugary snacks, try to have those sweet treats at meal time so that your post-meal brushing and/or rinsing keeps bacteria at bay.

Are you watching your diet?

While most people know that sugary foods contribute to cavities, studies have shown that foods high in refined carbohydrates, such as bread or crackers made with white flour, make your teeth more prone to decay as well. Concentrate on buying whole, fresh fruits and vegetables, not frozen or canned, and stick to whole-grain bread products when possible.

Are you brushing and flossing regularly?

Last but certainly not least, brushing and flossing are among the most important things you can do on a daily basis to help fight tooth decay. It's best to brush and floss each morning and night, and brush after meals whenever you can.

A healthy lifestyle enthusiast, F.R. writes about keeping our bodies and oral health in prime condition. Look for similar topics from a top dentist in Arlington - team dentist for the Texas Rangers. His specialty is creating beautiful, healthy smiles using stress-free care and a comfortable environment in his Arlington dentistry.
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