According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), tooth decay is the single most common disease in children. Children are most susceptible to tooth decay since their enamel is soft and still being developed, but the fact is that anyone can suffer from this condition regardless of age. The good news is that you can protect yourself against tooth decay by following some simple steps.
Allowing tooth decay to persist can lead to a wide range of problems, some of which includes breakdown of enamel, periodontal disease, infection, abscess and more. The American Dental Association (ADA) defines cavities as: “a disease that happens when bacteria in the mouth produce acids that attack your teeth.”
When people fail to brush and clean their teeth properly, the bacteria from food and beverage particles begins to eat away at the enamel, resulting in a cavity. Unfortunately, cavities do not heal themselves; instead, they require filling by a professional dentists in order to prevent further decay.
Arguably, one of the single most important steps towards preventing cavities and tooth decay is to brush with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day. Take your time to cover both the fronts and backs of your teeth, brushing in a circular motion over the surface. It’s recommended that you avoid hard-bristle toothbrushes, as they can lead to gum recession.
Flossing goes hand in hand with brushing your teeth. In fact, some dentists claim it’s even more important than brushing when it comes to preventing tooth decay. A 2008 survey found that less than half of Americans (48%) floss daily, and 10% never floss. But flossing does more than just remove bacteria-ridden food particles stuck to the sides of teeth; it cleans underneath the gums where the real problem is located.
Few people realize just how much their diet influences tooth decay. If you continue to drink sugary, highly acidic soft drinks each day, you can expect higher levels of decay. Kick the sodas and other sugary drinks and stick with good old fashioned H2O. In addition, you should build your diet around fresh vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and the occasional fruit.
Last but not least, visiting your dentist on a regular basis is another important step in preventing tooth decay. Try to get into the habit of visiting twice a year. This encourages cleaner teeth with less plaque buildups while helping to detect decay and other problems early.
Contact us today to learn more ways to prevent tooth decay and to schedule an appointment with one of our dentists at our Little Rock office.