Tooth decay is caused by the naturally occurring bacteria in our mouths that produce acid which eats away at our teeth, creating holes, also known as cavities. Although there is no way to completely prevent bacteria, you can prevent it decaying your teeth by brushing and flossing, eating the right kinds of food and periodically using fluoride as a rinse. The beginning stages of tooth decay can actually be reversed, but if tooth decay is not treated properly it can lead to pain, infection, or even tooth loss. Unfortunately, tooth decay is so minute that it is near impossible for anyone to know if a cavity is forming until the pain begins, and at that point it may be too late to recover.

Is There a Way to Detect Decay?

Sharp pain in a single tooth is usually a sure sign of tooth decay and possible cavities, but that isn’t always the case. In the very early stages, decay is symptomless and cannot be detected by the human eye. If you are determined to catch the decay while it is still reversible, A Beautiful Smile at Lake Pointe in Houston, Texas suggests frequent visits to your dentist and biannual cleanings. Our dentist will also take regular X-rays to detect any decay and any other abnormalities to be taken care of. If your dentist catches the decay early, it will be cheaper for you in the long run as you avoid extensive dental treatment.

How To Prevent Tooth Decay On Your Own

It’s possible that teeth will decay even with a biannual check up for the whole family, unless you are rigorous about at-home prevention techniques as well. Here’s a couple of ways to keep your teeth healthy and decay for free year-round.

#1: Brush and Floss Twice A Day. If you eat an excess amount of snacks and beverages during the day, brush when you’re finished eating as well to avoid plaque build up before the second brush of the day. If you feel uncomfortable brushing your teeth in the office bathroom, carry around a travel sized mouthwash or just swish with clean water. Sugarless gum is also a fine alternative as remaining particles that are harmful to teeth stick to the gum.

#2: Clean Up Your Diet: Food or candy high in sugar can do damage very quickly to your oral health. Sticky foods find a place in between your teeth where your toothbrush and floss cannot reach and decay your teeth at a rapid pace. In order to avoid a sugar invasion on your pearly whites, avoid sugary or sticky treats all-together. If you give in, pull out that handy mouthwash for a quick rinse.

#3: Use Fluoride Products: Although sometimes controversial, fluoride (in small amounts) strengthens your teeth and fights against plaque. You can find fluoride in water and in some toothpastes – especially those that advertise enamel protection. Fluoride is a natural solvent that keeps plaque from sticking to the enamel.

Making a few minor changes to your oral routine will decrease the amount of plaque buildup and tooth decay. Contact A Beautiful Smile at Lake Pointe to set up a cleaning appointment and overall check up to ensure you are properly fighting against tooth decay.