Monday, January 20, 2014

Causes of Tooth Decay and How to Prevent It

Tooth decay is decidedly unpleasant, and may be caused by plaque buildup, cavities and gum disease that can result from diet choices and poor dental care. It can affect people at any age, even beginning in childhood. Far from being confined to the mouth, the repercussions of insufficient dental hygiene can contribute to many different health problems, from heart disease to mental illness.

Luckily, there are many things you can do at home to help prevent decay:

  • Use the proper toothbrush, and switch to a new brush about every three months. There are dozens of styles of toothbrush available on the market, and some will be better suited to your needs than others. Ask your dental hygienist for more information.
  • Your dentist should also give you a refresher course on proper brushing technique - a good angle is about 45 degrees.
  • Make sure you're taking about four minutes- around the length of a song on the radio- to brush your teeth. A lot of people rush through their brushing routine, even if they are brushing twice a day.
  • Floss at least once a day, and make sure to get in to all those little crevices your toothbrush may not be able to reach. This is another practice a lot of people rush through or skip all together, so ask your dentist for tips.
  • Mouthwash is another good step - once or twice a day is enough, preferably with an alcohol-free mouthwash that includes fluoride, like Act! Having fluoride in your mouthwash is especially important if your city doesn't include fluoride in the tap water. Your eating habits also have a lot to do with the state of your teeth. Even if you're otherwise following all the proper guidelines for dental hygiene, certain foods, beverages and practices can negatively affect the health of your teeth.
  • Most people know, but it's worth repeating - sugar is a huge detriment to dental health. Without a doubt, consuming sugary foods and drinks on a regular basis leads to a higher instance of tooth decay. Even if you don't think your diet contains much sugar, you may be surprised if you check the nutritional content of the foods you eat. A lot of pre-prepared or boxed food is sweetened; many people consume more sugar than they think.
  • Dark beverages like red wine and coffee contribute to surface stains, so stay away from these drinks if you're concerned about keeping your smile white.
  • Along the same lines, cigarette smoking is a huge contributor to tooth decay and gum disease - just one more reason to quit.

However, all these preventative measures don't remove the necessity for regular dental cleanings. If it seems unpleasant or too expensive, remember that catching issues like gum disease and tooth decay early on will make them much easier and less expensive to deal with in the long run. If you flat-out can't afford to see a regular dentist, consider a local dental school- they are always in need of patients, and your appointment will be supervised by an experienced dentist.

Usually, you will only need to pay the cost of supplies and materials used during the visit. Lastly, keep in mind that some people will naturally retain more bacteria and build up more plaque than others, and may require regular deep cleanings as opposed to a shorter visit and quick surface polish.

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