How to Prevent Tooth Decay
Do cavities tend to run in your family? Although the bacteria that cause tooth decay can spread through saliva, there are active steps you can take to limit your risk of new lesions.
Floss Every Day
Brushing only cleans a portion of your mouth. There are approximately 40% of your tooth surfaces that never get cleaned if you’re not flossing. Over time, the absence of dental floss will lead to cavities forming between your teeth.
To clean your teeth properly, slide the floss down between your teeth and against the side of one at a time. Rub the strand up and down below the gums and where your teeth touch each other. Then curve it around the adjacent tooth and repeat the process.
You should floss your teeth a minimum of once per day.
Watch What You Drink
The liquids going into your mouth coat every tooth surface above your gums. Acidic drinks like sweetened coffee, tea, juice or soda (even diet ones) lower pH levels inside your mouth.
Each time you drink something other than water, the natural sugars and acids are active on your teeth for about 30 minutes at a time. Gradually, they start to etch the outer layers of your enamel.
If you want to indulge every now and then, drink your beverage with a meal, then rinse your mouth with water afterwards. Sipping through a straw can also help to limit the contact time that liquids have with your front teeth.
Beware of Dry Mouth
Xerostomia (dry mouth) is a common side effect of allergies, mouth breathing and most medications. It’s also a leading contributing factor to tooth decay.
Without adequate saliva to lubricate your teeth, bacteria and acids can work to destroy enamel much quicker.
To stimulate saliva production and lubricate your mouth, sip on water frequently throughout the day and invest in moisturising products like sugar-free gum and alcohol-free mouthwash. For advice on which ones work best, talk to our dentist during your checkup!
See a Dentist Twice Per Year
Your family dentist provides excellent resources for limiting the development and extent of cavities. Preventative services like fissure sealants and fluoride can safeguard your enamel before cavities break develop. Plus, we’ll screen for early signs of demineralisation, so that problems can be managed while they’re as small as possible.