The start of the new year is the perfect time to focus on a new and improved you! Kicking off 2019 with a better dental care routine will help you prevent dental caries, gum disease, tooth loss, as well as improve your overall health and well-being. Before weighing in on what makes for a good routine, let’s first get down to some basics.
So what is dental caries?
Dental caries, otherwise known as tooth decay or cavities, is a common condition that can affect up to 90% of children and an extensive majority of adults. Surprising to many people, dental caries is caused by acid producing bacteria, and actually represents one of the most common bacterial infections in people. These oral bacteria consume sugars and other carbohydrates and produce harmful acids on the tooth’s enamel surface. Said acid is produced in even larger amounts with refined sugars commonly found in the many processed foods and drinks we consume today. The result is a loss of essential phosphate and calcium, which are both vital to our enamel and lead to what is known as demineralization.
Simple to treat while just in the outer enamel and dentin layers of the tooth, complications from deeper demineralization include:
- Tooth aches and pain
- Abscessing leading to pus formation and swelling
- Broken and cavitated teeth
- Eventual tooth loss
So what can you do to prevent dental caries from occurring?
- Brush your teeth properly with a fluoridated toothpaste
- Brushing your teeth at least twice daily for two minutes, with a toothpaste that contains fluoride is one of the most effective ways to prevent tooth decay. Carefully read the label of your toothpaste to ensure it has an adequate amount of fluoride (1.1% sodium fluoride is effective and safe in preventing dental caries). Remember to floss your teeth along with brushing to remove plaque hiding between them
- Drinking tap water
- Most tap water has added fluoride, which is proven to reduce the incidence of dental caries formation. If you are limiting yourself to bottled water, especially one that is demineralized or distilled, you are losing the benefits of added fluoride. If you are keen on bottled water, try mixing in some tap water or rotating your water source every time you quench your thirst.
- Avoid excess sugar
- It goes without saying that too much sugar can wreak havoc on your dental health, as well as your overall health. Soft and sticky sweets, like cakes and gummies, are among the biggest culprits that get lodged in between teeth, creating that harmful acid which can cause decay. If you do consume a sweet treat, remember to brush and floss afterwards.
- Try to increase eating fresh fruits and vegetables which promote the flow of saliva. Unsweetened drinks, lots of water, and sugar-free gum can also assist in washing away food particles after a meal. So drink up and stay hydrated!
- Regular and ongoing visits to your Dentist
- Although these points are good preventative measures, the best way to ensure that your oral health is consistently top-notch is to make regular visits to your dentist. A dental professional like Dr. Hanna and his staff offer friendly, knowledgeable and professional dental services to give you the peace of mind of knowing you and your family’s oral health is in good hands.
Go Dental is conveniently located in the heart of Corktown, near the Hamilton GO Station. To keep up-to-date with us and get tips on your dental health, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.