8 Top Tips for Preventing Tooth Decay

You can prevent tooth decay

Tooth decay, also called a cavity, can affect anyone at any time. Cavities often result from poor dental hygiene and eating habits, but other influencing factors exist. The process that creates a cavity occurs in several stages, eventually leading to issues like tooth pain and tooth loss, when left untreated.  

Fortunately, proper dental care and preventative dentistry can help protect you from experiencing tooth decay.   

What Causes Tooth Decay? 

Enamel is the outermost layer of a tooth and is the hardest substance in the body. It is the second hardest naturally occurring substance on Earth after diamonds. However, when plaque turns sugary foods and drinks into acid, it attacks the tooth. 

This acid breaks down the enamel, which cannot regrow or repair itself. Once a cavity forms in the enamel, it can continue spreading to the deeper layers of the tooth.

A cavity doesn’t appear overnight—in most cases, it can be prevented. An average mouth typically rests at a pH of seven. Below this number, your mouth becomes more acidic, allowing plaque to harm your teeth.

Forming a cavity is a long process; some patients can reverse the effects of bacteria and sugar in their mouth, but only after taking special precautions.

Tips for Preventing Tooth Decay 

You can avoid tooth pain and dental treatment by being proactive in the fight against cavities. Follow these eight key tips to prevent the formation of tooth decay: 

1. Evaluate Your Diet 

Pay attention to what you eat and drink. Do you gravitate toward foods with added sugar and acidic drinks? If you enjoy these things, consume them for short periods to limit the amount of time your teeth are exposed to them. 

Frequently sipping or snacking puts your teeth under constant attack from the cavity-forming reaction of bacteria and sugar. Remember to eat a well-balanced meal full of essential nutrients.  

2. Consider a Fluoride Treatment 

Fluoride treatment helps strengthen weakened enamel and can prevent tooth decay. Multiple fluoride options are available today, whether in-office or at home! Some tap water contains fluoride, but if yours doesn’t, you can purchase fluoridated toothpaste.    

Your dentist can provide a fluoride treatment that gets applied in minutes. This treatment is often used in routine dental visits to strengthen teeth and protect your smile. 

3. Floss Daily 

Many patients skip flossing as part of their daily hygiene routine. In fact, 58% admit to neglecting it altogether, while 47% say they do so weekly. But they are missing the best way to clean debris from between the teeth. You can find many different options for floss, including string, brushes, floss picks, and water-flossing devices.  

Flossing may feel tedious until you get used to it. However, you can create a habit by doing it every day. If you continue flossing regularly, you’ll prevent cavities from developing between the teeth. 

4. Don’t Brush Immediately After Eating 

After eating, acids in your mouth weaken the tooth’s enamel. Despite its strength, brushing immediately after eating can damage enamel. 

When you wait approximately 30 minutes before picking up the brush, you give your tooth enamel time to remineralize and build itself back up. You can help this process by rinsing your mouth or drinking water to start the remineralization process. 

5. Chew Sugar-Free Gum 

Chewing gum can satisfy your urge to snack or settle your nervous energy. But it is often high in sugar, making sugar-free gum a preferred choice. Not only will sugar-free gum meet those needs, but it will also stimulate saliva production to help wash away food particles and bacteria. 

6. Quit Smoking 

Smoking affects your overall health and is a detriment to your teeth’s health. Smokers have a higher risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancer, and other oral conditions.   

7. Drink More Water 

Drinking water can provide you with fluoride, but there is another benefit. It’s a great way to clean your mouth because it washes away food residue. Without food particles, cavity-causing bacteria have nothing to eat. Water also dilutes the acid in your mouth produced by bacteria. 

8. Get Acid Reflux Under Control

Your dentist can detect signs of acid or silent reflux by spotting enamel erosion on your molars or the backside of your teeth. This is caused by stomach acid eating away at the enamel.   

Addressing your acid reflux may require a visit to a gastroenterologist. They can advise you on controlling your reflux so the acid doesn’t get to your teeth. Your doctor may suggest the following: 

  • Losing weight
  • Eating smaller meals
  • Avoiding acidic foods
  • Sleeping propped up 
  • Avoiding lying down immediately after eating 
  • Stopping smoking 

They may also advise you to limit your alcohol intake to reduce acid reflux symptoms. 

Prevent Tooth Decay by Visiting Davis Family Dental Care

One of the best ways to prevent tooth decay is to visit your dentist regularly. At Davis Family Dental Care, we provide gentle, family-friendly care and consistently deliver exceptional results. Our state-of-the-art dentist office in Bedford, TX, features advanced technology that can diagnose and treat signs and symptoms of tooth decay and other conditions. Call us today to schedule your appointment!