Preventing tooth decay is something that interests patients and dentists alike. Nobody likes decaying teeth or its complications. After all, when you get dental cavities or gum disease, it doesn’t just look terrible. It doesn’t feel terrific, too. Understanding what prevents tooth decay, then, is not only an endeavor for dentists to look into. It’s an essential piece of knowledge we can integrate into our day-to-day lives.
When you know what prevents tooth decay, they become an essential guideline to forming good oral health habits that revolve around this understanding. We know, for instance, that fluoride bonds with the other minerals in your tooth enamel to strengthen your teeth against acid and oral bacteria. And that keeping the number of bacteria in your mouth at bay can reduce your instances of getting oral bacteria. When you know this, the tendency is you do more things that reduce your chances of tooth decay.
That said, what prevents tooth decay? And how can you effectively utilize that knowledge?
Fluoride plays a big role in what prevents tooth decay
By now, the notion that fluoride helps prevent tooth decay is something widely accepted. While it’s not some magic deterrent for tooth decay, this mineral makes your teeth less vulnerable to any environmental threats. When it bonds with calcium and phosphate, it makes your tooth enamel less likely to lose minerals throughout the day. This, in turn, helps your teeth prevent tooth decay.
You can make the most of fluoride’s benefits by brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste. Getting a toothpaste that’s approved by the American Dental Association is ideal for this. Or perhaps getting a fluoride varnish with your nearest dental office. Regardless, it’s best to consult your dentist about what fluoride options you have.
What you eat affects your teeth
Aside from integrating fluoride toothpaste into your dental care routine, what you eat—and not eat—factors into how well you can prevent tooth decay. What you consume, after all, doesn’t just linger on your teeth. It also eventually makes its way into your saliva, which is what infuses back the minerals into your teeth.
It would be best if you ate a lot of healthy foods for your teeth. This isn’t limited to food that contains the minerals your tooth enamel needs. This also includes eating food that helps your saliva flow and reducing your intake of sugary foods and acidic treats.
Drinking lots of (fluoridated) water
If fluoride and what you consume is what prevents tooth decay, then it’s essential to get the right amount of consumable fluoride in your system. Fortunately, most states have fluoridated water sources, so access isn’t too much of a problem. For states without these water sources, however, you might need to make an extra purchase. Seeing how potent fluoride is in preventing tooth decay, however, it’s a purchase well spent.
Get your teeth cleaned professionally
Aside from fluoride and what you eat and drink, keeping the amount of harmful oral bacteria in your mouth is a significant factor in what prevents tooth decay. Usually, brushing your teeth regularly with fluoride toothpaste suffices. Still, regular cleaning at your dental office gives your dental care the boost it needs. During your appointment, your dental hygienist can scrub off any surfaces your toothbrush might have missed, making for a much cleaner mouth.