Preventing Cavities and Dental Pain

Preventing cavities begins with you.  The three most important things, which can be done to prevent problems with your teeth and gums, you can do from home:  brush, floss, and eat healthy food.  



Let’s start with brushing.  Brushing with toothpaste does several things to prevent dental decay.  The most important is that it removes plaque, a buildup of harmful bacteria that leads to gum disease and cavities if left on teeth.  Just after a few hours plaque begins to build up.  It is important to brush several times daily to keep these bacteria off your teeth.  Toothpaste helps to keep teeth stain free, and freshens breath.  Any added fluoride is there to help strengthen the enamel and to help prevent cavities.



Many find that brushing is an easy habit, but flossing is not so easily remembered. Flossing can be even more important than brushing in preventing cavities.  Floss can reach the areas below the gum line that a tooth brush can’t.  This prevents bacteria buildup under the gums.  In just two weeks, bacteria growth constantly against the gum line can cause the gums to become unhealthy, a condition called gingivitis. Unhealthy gums are a poor foundation for teeth and will eventually lead to tooth loss.  Flossing is a habit just like brushing.  Keep plenty of floss around and be diligent every day for a month.  You will have started an excellent habit in preventing dental problems.  



Preventing dental pain also begins with a good diet.  Good food helps produce healthy gums and tissues in the mouth.  Sugar on the other hand feeds the acid producing bacteria that feed on it.  The longer sugar is in your mouth the more acid produced.  The more acid the more you are prone to decay.  When you eat sugar or starchy food it is best to brush as soon as possible.  Also drinking plenty of water helps keep ones mouth full of saliva which also helps to wash the teeth. 



 In addition to all of the above, preventing cavities includes a visit to the dentist at least, yearly, for an exam and x-rays. This way decay can be caught and treated early before a problem gets worse.   Professional dental cleanings are dependent on how much tartar (calculus) a patient tends to accumulate.  Some patients may require cleanings every 3 months while others can get by with cleanings every six months.


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