Disrepair, rot, extinction … these are the words that come up when you type ‘decay’ into your online thesaurus. Extinction! And that is exactly what can happen if your teeth are decaying. Tooth decay has the power to destroy your tooth structures and causes you to lose your teeth. And then, before you know it, your teeth are as obsolete as the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex. Exactly as the name suggests, tooth decay causes ruin wherever it goes. It can destroy any tooth in your mouth, from top to bottom, inside and out, on any level, and it can even destroy your gums and the bones that support your teeth. In fact, recent reports from medical researchers and top dentists indicate that, if it is left untreated, tooth decay not only can lead to gum disease, but more serious health problems such as heart disease and stroke. The saddest part about tooth decay is that it’s almost totally avoidable and preventable. There’s simply no reason to suffer from tooth decay and all the destruction it brings with it. In just a few simple steps, teeth can be healthy and strong, making tooth decay, rather than teeth, a thing of the past.
What causes tooth decay?
Bacteria in the mouth are necessary to break down and help eliminate food particles and to aid in changing those food particles into acid. This acid is necessary because it washes plaque away. However, if teeth are not properly cared for, bacteria will hang around for too long, and that means that the acid in your mouth is hanging around for too long. And that’s what causes erosion of tooth enamel. It also causes cavities and decay of teeth that can affect every level of a tooth down through to the gums, blood vessels, and nerves. This is the stage where a root canal may become necessary, and as anyone who’s had a root canal knows, this is where the pain can get really bad … when the nerves are affected. Tooth decay can also lead to an infection that can be a contributing factor in more serious health conditions.
And you know what prevents it
It may seem obvious, but if it were all that obvious, there would be virtually no tooth decay. But there is tooth decay out there, and it’s rampant. Brushing, flossing, dental checkups, good nutrition, mouthwash … these are all your best weapons against developing tooth decay, and quite possibly eventually losing your teeth.
That’s why they call it a ‘routine’
Again to the thesaurus … the word ‘routine’ brings up words like ‘automatic’ and ‘habitual.’ That’s how your oral hygiene routine should be. Twice-daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste; at least once-daily flossing; and mouthwash … these make up your arsenal that will attack tooth decay even before it starts. Brushing and flossing remove that nasty plaque that builds up on teeth and causes tooth decay. Mouthwash helps to fight bacteria that cause plaque.
Good nutrition and strong teeth
Processed, starchy, and sticky foods cause plaque buildup in the mouth. If you’re big on these foods, you may want to pull back on them a bit and opt for some crunchy raw vegetables at least once a day. Crunchy vegetables help to clean teeth, and they provide the nutrients your teeth and gums need.
Wash your mouth out with … fluoride!
Fluoride toothpaste is great for teeth, but if you top it off with some fluoride mouthwash, now you’ve got double protection against tooth decay. For an added level of protection against cavities, tooth decay, and tooth loss, your family dentist is a rich resource for information about supplemental fluoride that can help to strengthen your teeth.
Of course, a daily oral hygiene routine is only half the story. Everyone who cares about their teeth needs to schedule regular dental visits for cleanings and examinations. Top dentists know what they’re looking for, and they have the ability to see things you can’t. Early stages of gum disease and tooth decay sometimes come with no pain at all, and that means you may not even know you have problems. If you don’t have a family dentist, contact a dental office in your area for a thorough examination and professional cleaning. Catching problems early is a vital part of preventing disease from taking hold of your teeth.
If you don’t observe good oral hygiene habits, your teeth could be a distant memory. But there’s no need to look longingly on the past, getting all misty and nostalgic over your bygone teeth. Take the necessary steps now to prevent tooth decay and the destruction it can bring to your teeth and gums. Brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, floss at least once daily, and visit a top dentist in your Clearwater area for optimal prevention of gum disease.