Whether or not you’re a local dentist in Raleigh, NC, you know that tooth decay is serious business. Nobody wants to end up with gum disease, tons of plaque, and an unhealthy mouth, especially if it can be helped. However, due to the high sugar content of many of the foods we eat, it can be extremely challenging to avoid tooth decay without being super health-conscious. It’s not just about sugar, either. If you’re not practicing the right oral hygiene every day, you could be creating an opportunity for plaque buildup and tooth rot without even knowing it. That’s why it’s so important to stay aware of the facts when it comes to dental health and hygiene. If you’re concerned about preserving your mouth health in the long term, here are a few things you can do every day to promote a healthier, whiter smile.
Keep Tabs on Sugar
Sugary treats aren’t just bad for your health if eaten to excess. They can speed up tooth decay and make it impossible to practice good oral hygiene. When you eat lots of sugary foods or even simple carbs, it allows the bacteria in your mouth to live longer, get stronger, and work to break down the enamel that protects your tooth from decay.
While healthier foods like vegetables can actually help your teeth rebuild over time, snacks that are full of sugar can get stuck in your teeth easily, creating the perfect opportunity for plaque to strike. It’s not just about desserts or sugary cereals, either. Tons of everyday foods that you can find around the house, such as store-bought bread, granola, and canned soups can come with an alarming amount of sugar.
If you’re already trying to be more health-conscious, it always helps to look at the nutritional facts of whatever you’re eating to figure out how many grams of sugar you’re consuming. This will help you keep tabs on your health while getting you into the habit of being more sugar-conscious.
Say Yes to Fluoride
For tooth and gum protection, fluoride is truly a lifesaver. It’s found in many types of mouthwash and most kinds of toothpaste due to its cavity-fighting powers. Fluoride helps combat plaque and residue to keep your tooth enamel strong, which is why it’s recommended to brush at least twice a day after meals.
This helps your mouth stay clean and prevents lots of food particles from hanging around in your mouth all day. In addition to taking fluoride, you’ll also want to be diligent about flossing.
Getting in between your teeth to filter out gunk and buildup will go a long way toward preventing cavities and keeping your mouth in better shape for longer. Using toothpaste with fluoride and natural whitening and anti-bacterial agents like baking soda can also help promote a healthy, bright smile.
Use a Sealant
If you’re truly paranoid about getting cavities, you might want to think about getting a dental sealant for your teeth. While sealants mainly benefit kids whose adult teeth need more protecting, adults can also use sealants to prevent cavities and protect against tooth decay.
A sealant is basically a layer of plastic that keeps food crumbs and particles from nesting in those hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. The idea is that sealant can help prevent plaque buildup in areas where you can’t easily floss or brush. It’s not too expensive to get them, and they last for over 10 years, protecting your teeth against countless assaults from sugar, snacks, and pesky bacteria.
Avoid Acid After Brushing
The enamel on your teeth works as a type of protective shield against damage. As we get older, this layer starts to erode, either due to brushing too hard or eating too many demineralizing foods like sweets.
However, one of the main causes of enamel breakdown is eating citrus too soon after brushing. When you brush your teeth, you leave your mouth sensitive for at least a half an hour afterward. You’ll have noticed this if you tried to eat anything directly after brushing and found that it tasted distinctly more like toothpaste that you’d have liked.
This isn’t the only issue with eating too soon after brushing. If you eat anything acidic, like lemon water or grapefruit, it could weaken your enamel and start to break down your tooth’s protection without your even noticing. That’s why it pays to wait at least a half an hour before consuming anything too acidic after brushing. Play it safe by rinsing thoroughly and giving yourself a lot of time before your next meal or drink.