Bacteria in the mouth plays a major role in tooth decay and tooth loss. When bacteria is combined with food, it creates a sticky substance that forms on the surface of the teeth. This sticky film is called plaque and it can cause serious damage to tooth enamel.
Tooth decay is a common problem that can cause chronic pain, infections, and tooth loss if left untreated. Tooth loss often begins with a small cavity. When left untreated, a tooth can require a root canal or may have to be extracted. Fortunately, you can prevent tooth loss, by taking action now and improving your oral health habits and seeing your dentist regularly.
What Causes Teeth Decay & How to Avoid Tooth Loss
Plaque, the sticky film found on enamel, can harden and turn into tartar if left untreated. This can result in serious tooth decay, as well as gum disease. When you brush regularly, using toothpaste with fluoride, the enamel can begin to heal itself. But if you fail to practice good oral hygiene, such as brushing twice a day and flossing, the enamel will lose minerals and will be unable to replace them.
Following good oral health practices and making some dietary changes can reduce your chances of tooth decay.
Below, you’ll find some tips that can help you improve oral health and lower your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
1. Eating Starchy/Sugary Foods
Starchy foods and sugar can build up on the teeth, resulting in cavities if you fail to brush regularly. Cut back on sugary beverages and snacks that can get stuck between the teeth, promoting bacterial growth. Healthy alternatives can include veggies and fruit, which offer a wide range of health benefits and can promote saliva production. An increase in saliva can help rinse away food particles.
2. Not Brushing Between Meals
Chewing a piece of sugar-free gum is a great option if you’re not able to brush after every meal. Chewing gum helps by stimulating the salivary glands, increasing the gland’s flow rate. The flavor of the gum can also increase the amount of saliva in the mouth, helping to clean out the mouth by removing food particles, just like when you eat fruit.
3. Poor Oral Hygiene-Create a Good Oral Hygiene Routine
A good oral hygiene routine will keep your gums and teeth healthy. Teeth should be brushed twice daily. After you have brushed your teeth, you should floss as well to get rid of any remaining food particles. You can also speak with a dentist about your oral hygiene habits and learn whether a fluoride rinse can be beneficial to prevent future tooth decay.
4. Avoiding Regular Checkups
A dentist can easily identify any potential problems and head them off. They will assess your oral health and recommend remedial and preventative measures.
At your visit, you should also ask your dentist about sealants. These coatings can protect your teeth, filling in the grooves of the chewing surfaces of the teeth to prevent food from collecting there. Most sealants can last for several years.
5. Putting Off Treatment
Regular dental visits can catch cavities early, allowing your dentist to fill them in to prevent further decay, and keep your teeth healthy. If the tooth cannot be saved and must be extracted, a dentist can address discomfort and determine the best method to use to replace any missing teeth, such as a bridge or implant. Today, dental implants function and look exactly like natural teeth. Keeping your teeth clean by brushing and flossing regularly and seeing your dentist as often as they recommend, are the best ways to maintain a beautiful smile and prevent tooth loss in the future.
What are Common Risk Factors for Tooth Loss?
Poor oral hygiene habits, smoking, failing to seek dental treatment if you break or chip a tooth, and eating sugary and starchy foods, can all increase your chances of losing a tooth or developing periodontal disease.
Preventative Care Can Help
Proper oral health care and regular dental visits will prevent tooth loss from gum disease and decay.
At Stuart Curry Dentistry, we provide preventative treatment and invite new patients to schedule an exam as soon as possible. If you have your teeth cleaned regularly, you can significantly reduce your chances of tooth decay, tooth loss, and periodontal disease. Taking the time to have your teeth cleaned by a professional can also prevent pain, discomfort, and embarrassment. If you haven’t seen a dentist in a long time and you’re experiencing pain, swelling, and discomfort, or you have broken, chipped, or loose teeth, schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Our dentists can also discuss your oral health routine and make suggestions that can protect your adult teeth and improve your dental health. We know how important a beautiful smile is and we want to help restore yours.
Schedule a Dental Checkup Today
Seeking treatment for tooth decay or a semi-annual cleaning can prevent many of the common oral health issues that can cause tooth loss and negatively impact your quality of life. At our facility, we offer preventative treatment, and will ensure your time with us will be a positive experience that can help improve your oral health, eliminate pain, and restore your smile. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.