Avoiding Tooth Decay

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To keep your mouth healthy, it's important to avoid tooth decay. Tooth decay is the dissolution of the tooth material. When the pH in the mouth becomes acidic, the acid dissolves the tooth enamel, causing cavities to form.

Here are a few actions that you can take to help minimize your incidence of decay.

Limit Sweet and Starchy Foods

Sweet and starchy foods include many simple sugars. Simple sugars are primary food sources for many of the harmful bacteria in the mouth.

When the bacteria feed, their digestive process produces acidic waste. By limiting the number of sweets and starches that you consume, you limit the food that is available to the harmful microbes. With fewer simple sugars to eat, the bacteria produce less decay-causing acid.

Brush and Floss Regularly

Brushing and flossing remove dental plaque. The plaque is a sticky mixture of food particles, oral bacteria, and biofilm. As the bacteria in the plaque feed and release acid, the acid is produced in direct contact with the plaque-coated tooth surfaces.

Brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush removes the plaque without damaging the tooth enamel. The floss helps to clean plaque from the interdental spaces and just beneath the gums, where the bristles of the toothbrush are unable to reach.

If you feel that string floss is too cumbersome to navigate in the mouth, consider an oral irrigator or water flosser. The concentrated stream of water from the device dislodges debris as effectively as traditional floss.

Plaque that is left undisturbed for prolonged periods calcifies, becoming tartar. The hardened, bacteria-laden substance cannot be removed with a toothbrush. Instead, the dentist must scrape it from the teeth. Thus, the regular, timely removal of the plaque is important.

Chewing Gum After Meals

Sugarless gum has a sticky consistency that can pull food particles and plaque from the teeth. Additionally, some gum includes antimicrobial ingredients, such as cinnamon and xylitol, that help kill some of the oral bacteria that release acid. Also, the act of chewing gum encourages the release of copious amounts of saliva.

The saliva rinses debris from the teeth and gums. In addition, it helps to neutralize the bacterial acids.

To add sugar-free gum to your oral health regimen, be sure to chew it immediately after meals and snacks. The gum can help clean your teeth in the absence of a toothbrush and floss.

To learn more ways to keep your teeth free of decay, schedule a consultation with a general dentist from your local area.