Tooth decay is a significant problem for adults in the United States. Tooth decay can cause pain, bad breath and even worse can lead to tooth loss. Tooth decay affects more than just your teeth; it can also affect your overall health, as bacteria from decaying teeth can enter your bloodstream and spread throughout your body. Luckily, there are ways to combat tooth decay in adults that you can start implementing right away.
Good Oral Hygiene Habits
Good oral hygiene habits are essential when fighting against tooth decay in adults. Brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste helps prevent cavities by removing plaque and food debris from the surface of the teeth and keeping them strong. Additionally, flossing daily removes plaque and food particles from between teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach. This helps to prevent the formation of harmful bacteria in those hard-to-reach places.
When it comes to toothbrushes, it is essential to use one with soft bristles, as these will be gentle on your gums as you brush. Additionally, ensure you replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months or whenever the bristles frayed. An electric toothbrush can also be more efficient at removing plaque when compared to manual brushing.
When choosing a toothpaste, look for one with fluoride as this helps strengthen the enamel of your teeth and can help to prevent cavities. Additionally, some toothpaste are available with added ingredients such as xylitol which has been linked to a decreased risk of cavities.
Using an antibacterial mouthwash regularly can help reduce the bacteria in your mouth that cause tooth decay. Be sure to read the instructions on how to use it properly, as some types require different amounts or usage times than others.
Regular Dental Check-Ups
Regular dental checkups are essential for adults to catch any early signs of tooth decay or other issues. During these visits, your dentist can detect any problems and take preventive measures to reduce your risk of developing cavities, gum disease, and other issues. Additionally, they can provide you with advice on how to better care for your teeth and gums so that you can help prevent tooth decay in the future.
Cleaning your teeth at least every six months is essential to preventing tooth decay in adults. During a cleaning, plaque and tartar will be removed from the surface of your teeth that brushing alone cannot reach. This helps to prevent bacteria growth that is otherwise difficult to remove without professional tools.
During a regular dental checkup, x-rays may also be taken to detect any issues that cannot be seen on the surface. This includes cavities between teeth and other issues, such as decay under the gums, which may lead to the need for a root canal or other treatments.
Your dentist may also recommend fluoride treatments during checkups to help protect your enamel from decay. These treatments strengthen the enamel of your teeth which helps prevent cavities from forming in hard-to-reach areas.
Diet and Lifestyle Changes
Changing your diet and lifestyle can also help reduce your risk of developing tooth decay in adults. Avoiding sugary drinks, candies, and foods high in processed carbohydrates is essential to preventing cavities. Reducing the amount of alcohol and tobacco you consume can also help protect your teeth from decay.
Including tooth-friendly foods in your diet is a critical way to reduce the risk of developing tooth decay in adults. Foods high in calcium, such as cheese, yogurt, and nuts, benefit your teeth and gums. Additionally, eating crunchy fruits and vegetables such as apples and carrots helps to stimulate saliva flow which can help rinse away bacteria that causes decay.
Vitamins and Minerals
Making sure you get enough vitamins and minerals daily is also essential in protecting your teeth from decay. Vitamin C helps to promote healthy gums, while vitamins A and D help to strengthen your enamel. Additionally, zinc and calcium are essential minerals that help protect your teeth and can be found in foods such as milk, spinach, and oysters.
Staying hydrated is another way to reduce the risk of developing tooth decay in adults. Drinking water throughout the day helps to increase saliva flow which washes away bacteria that causes decay. It can also help prevent dry mouth, which increases the risk of cavities due to being unable to produce enough protective saliva.
Tooth decay is a common issue for adults; however, there are ways that you can reduce your risk. Regular dental checkups are essential to catch any early signs of issues and take preventive measures such as cleanings, x-rays, and fluoride treatments. Additionally, changing your diet and lifestyle by eating tooth-friendly foods, getting enough vitamins and minerals, and staying hydrated can also help reduce the risk of developing cavities.
1. How often should I have a dental checkup?
It is recommended that adults have a dental checkup every six months or more to detect any issues as soon as possible.
2. What kind of food should I eat to prevent tooth decay?
Eating tooth-friendly foods such as cheese, yogurt, and nuts benefits your teeth and gums. Additionally, crunchy fruits and vegetables such as apples and carrots help to stimulate saliva flow which washes away bacteria that causes decay.
3. What vitamins should I take to prevent tooth decay?
Vitamin C helps to promote healthy gums, while vitamins A and D help to strengthen enamel. Additionally, zinc and calcium can be found in foods such as milk, spinach, and oysters which all help protect your teeth from decay.