For those who may not be aware, cavities are the byproduct of tooth decay, which, if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. Along with contributing to cavities and toothaches, tooth decay also affects tooth enamel and dentin, the middle layer of the tooth. One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to cavities is that only children are susceptible to getting them, which couldn’t be any further from the truth. In actuality, anyone can get cavities as they are often caused by the foods that we eat. For example, when high-carb foods like bread, cereal, and fruit remain on the teeth as a result of not brushing regularly, the bacteria in our mouth converts them into acids. The acids, bacteria, food particles, and saliva in our mouth all work collectively to form plaque, a soft, sticky film, which attaches to the teeth. Over time, the acid in plaque leads to enamel erosion, which, in turn, leads to cavities that can cause toothaches.
SCIENTIFIC STUDIES AIMED AT PREVENTING TOOTH DECAY
Currently, researchers are hopeful that a new means of preventing tooth decay will soon be available. In a well-publicized study, researchers found that chewing gum containing xylitol, a sugar alcohol used as an artificial sweetener, is effective in reversing the oral bacteria that often causes tooth decay. In addition to xylitol, researchers are looking into materials that can trigger time-release fluoride that can prevent tooth decay. According to researchers, these materials, which have not been named, would need to be placed in-between teeth or in pits and fissures to be effective. Research is also underway to find toothpaste and mouthwashes that can be used to reverse early cavities while they are still relatively small.
10 SOLUTIONS FOR TOOTH DECAY
While oil pulling and other at-home treatments have been said to be effective when it comes to treating cavities and tooth decay, many of these claims are unsubstantiated. Currently, the only proven way to resolve cavities is by scheduling an appointment with a licensed dental practitioner. However, there are a variety of things that you can do to minimize your chances of developing cavities, some of which include
1. REGULAR BRUSHING
Brushing your teeth twice per day using fluoride-containing toothpaste and an electric toothbrush can go a long way toward preventing cavities and tooth decay.
2. DRINKING WATER
Drinking plenty of water is a great way to stay hydrated and prevent cavities as well as tooth decay. Studies show that drinking the recommended eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day can increase saliva production, which can help wash away food particles and plaque from teeth and gums.
Flossing is a great way to remove plaque and food particles that can become trapped in-between teeth and lead to cavities and tooth decay.
4. FLUORIDE-CONTAINING MOUTH RINSE
Although commonly overlooked, fluoride-containing mouth rinse can help freshen your breath while also minimizing your risk of developing cavities. Ideally, you should use a rinse that contains antiseptic ingredients as they tend to do a better job when it comes to killing the bacteria that can cause plaque.
5. EATING A WELL-BALANCED DIET
A great way to reduce your risk of developing cavities is by eating fewer carbohydrate-containing snacks, such as cookies, candies, and chips, for example. Instead, you should aim to eat foods rich in lean protein and healthy fats.
While you seldom hear about supplements as a way to improve oral health, they can help. Along with calcium supplements that are available at many health food stores, supplemental fluoride, which is prescribed by dentists, can help strengthen teeth and prevent cavities. If you have migraine problem you can still take the supplements.
7. QUIT SMOKING
If you’re a smoker, you have another reason to consider quitting as smoking has been proven to be a leading cause of gum disease and tooth decay.
A common side effect of many prescription medications is xerostomia (dry mouth), which occurs when salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva to keep the mouth moistened. Xerostomia can lead to both cavities and tooth decay. If you’re taking medication that causes this side effect, it would be a good idea to speak with your physician or dentist.
9. DENTAL SEALANTS
Dental sealants, plastic coatings commonly placed on the surface of molars, can do a great job when it comes to protecting against cavities and tooth decay.
10. REGULAR DENTAL EXAMS
Lastly, scheduling regular dental checkups can help detect cavities early and prevent tooth decay. On that note, if it has been a while since your last dental exam, consider visiting a dentist in Wagga today.
By: Eric Reyes
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