Nearly all American adults experience forms of tooth decay and gum disease, most commonly in the form of cavities and gingivitis detected during routine dental visits. Cavities and gingivitis are common, and start as small concerns, but when left untreated they can quickly escalate to more severe dental disease. Despite what statistics may suggest, keeping your teeth and gums healthy is easy and affordable with healthy daily habits. There are simple ways to prevent tooth decay and gum disease with oral hygiene steps that anyone can incorporate into their routine.
5 Steps to Prevent Tooth Decay and Gum Disease
1. Brush your teeth twice a day: You should brush your teeth each morning and night, no exceptions. Teeth brushing is vital to prevent excessive plaque build-up that leads to cavities and periodontal disease. Use a manual or electric brush with soft bristles to gently brush the outer surfaces of your upper and lower arches, the inside surfaces of teeth, and the top chewing surfaces of teeth. Use up and down motions and take your time to carefully reach all areas.
2. Floss your teeth daily: Flossing is an effective way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Teeth brushing only does so much to clean your teeth. Flossing is essential to clean the small crevices, spaces between teeth and the gum line of food particles that lead to cavities and gum inflammation.
3. Use anti-bacterial mouthwash: The sugars and starches in your foods and beverages react with the bacteria in your saliva to form an acid that erodes your tooth enamel. Anti-bacterial mouthwash helps manage the bacteria levels in your mouth.
4. Strengthen your enamel with fluoride products: Tooth enamel is your tooth’s natural defense, an outer protective layer. When the enamel wears away, your tooth becomes susceptible to cavities. Fluoride products like fluoridated water, fluoride treatment or fluoride toothpaste help prevent cavities.
5. Visit the dentist every six months: Twice-yearly dental cleanings remove tartar build-up that cannot be removed at home. If left as is, this tartar leads to decay and disease. Dental exams every six months are vital to check for signs of dental disease or disorders.
The Importance of Preventive Dentistry
Preventive dentistry is simple: Easy, small at-home steps to maintain your oral hygiene daily coupled with twice-yearly visits to your dentist is often enough to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. If cavities or gingivitis are left untreated or go without notice, they can quickly develop into more severe forms of dental disease that threaten the health and wellness of your teeth and gums. Daily care goes a long way to prevent tooth or bone loss.