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Ten Simple Habits to Prevent Tooth Decay

Dental & Dentist Last updated

  • Written by: James Patrick Caley James Patrick Caley, D.S.S.
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Have you wondered if tooth decay is an inevitable sign of aging? But, age is not the issue – the issue is often diet. High sugar junk foods, processed foods flavorings, colorings are strewn throughout many people diets.

Tooth decay occurs from a build up of plaque acids on your teeth. Bacteria in your mouth starts working, right after your eat a meal or snack – and when it combines with the debris in your mouth, it forms plaque.

Below are 10 habits to help keep your chompers in check.

  1. Eat nutritious meals: Some foods are better for your teeth than others. Plus, a well-balanced nutritious diet is great for your entire body, not just your teeth.

  2. Limit sugary foods: If you’re craving sugar, hard fruits, like apples and pears, are your best bet. These sweets won’t stick to your teeth. Plus, they contain fructose (fruit sugar), which is gentler on enamel than sucrose (table sugar)

  3. Go green! Green tea has polyphenol that helps suppress bacteria and can help fight cavities and plaque.

  4. Brush frequently – on ALL sides of your teeth. Use a toothbrush that has soft bristles – so you don’t harm your gums. Use a timer and brush for two minutes (30 seconds on each quadrant). It’s important to replace toothbrushes every 3-4 months, because they become full of bacteria.

  5. Floss daily – debris gets trapped between your teeth that sometimes a toothbrush can’t get. The type or flavor of floss you use is not important. Opt for a floss you like and will use daily.

  6. Mouthwash - Use a mouthwash that contains fluoride.. If you don’t regularly brush your teeth after lunch, keep a little travel-size bottle handy and use it after lunch.

  7. Drink tap water – Bottled water is convenient, but it lacks fluoride. Adding fluoride to public tap water has significantly decreased tooth decay. If you only drink bottled water, you miss out on these benefits.

  8. Cheese please! A new study from the Academy of General Dentistry (May/June 2013) suggests small amounts of cheese can help protect teeth against cavities. The cheese protects your teeth from acid erosion that is brought on by coffee, tea, wine, soda, etc.

  9. Do you have a sweet tooth? Replace your normal sugar with xylitol, which temporarily retards the growth of bacteria that causes tooth decay. Xyilitol is a natural sweetner that occurs in foods like berries, fruit, vegetables and is widely researched.

  10. Chewing sugar-free gum after you have eaten may also help prevent tooth decay. When you chew gum, your mouth produces saliva, which neutralizes the acid in your mouth before it can damage your teeth. You can easily find sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol at the grocery store.

A healthy mouth can increase your lifespan up to 11 years. Inflammation in the mouth increases the risk of heart attacks, having a stroke, certain lung conditions and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Visit your dentist regularly. Professional cleanings and oral exams can help prevent problems and if a problem is to be found – the sooner a problem is found the better/easier it is on a patient. You can reach our office at (909) 798-5117.

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Remember: Healthy habits = Health gums = Happier YOU!