How To Fix Tooth Decay in 5 Simple Steps
What is Tooth Decay & What Causes It?
Tooth decay is when a white spot, dark mark, or hole (called a cavity) forms in a tooth due to harmful bacteria exposure. These bacteria make acids that can start to dissolve the outside of the tooth, if not cleaned away. Untreated tooth decay can be very painful causing infection, pain, swelling and eventual tooth loss.
Steps to Treat Cavities
If you have a tooth that is already bothering you, a visit to your dentist is a must. It’s best to treat cavities as soon as possible.Generally speaking, there is not a way to reverse tooth decay once it has started, and the infected area must be treated. To avoid such procedures, here are five simple steps for how to fix/avoid tooth decay:
Step 1: Use Fluoride
Fluoride makes teeth stronger. Period. It’s important to get it systemically through your drinking water (or tablets) as a child or adolescent and topically, through your toothpaste and at your dental office for the ultimate protection. There are also special prescription strength pastes and fluorides available from your dentist that might help in the early stages of decay (called incipient lesions). Beyond that point, the tooth will need treatment such as a filling, crown, root canal or extraction.
Step 2: Eat Well (for Your Body AND Your Smile)
A diet lower in sugar will help your teeth and your entire body. The harmful bacteria in the mouth need sugar to survive and put out acid. Don’t forget that foods like bread (and really any carbohydrates) break down into a sugar and foods like fruits contain natural sugars. You certainly can’t (and shouldn’t) avoid ALL sugar – your body needs some for energy. Just try to use it in moderation, and make sure to brush after consuming it.
Step 3: Brush and Floss Regularly
Brushing regularly equals twice a day for two minutes each time. Brush in circles and all the way to the gum line gently using a soft bristle toothbrush. Avoid aggressive side to side brushing as it can damage the gums. A high quality powered brush can help you remove more plaque. Don’t forget the floss…brushing can’t reach between your teeth.
Step 4: Ask About Sealants
Sealants cover the deep pits and fissures of the biting surfaces of teeth, which can be very effective in preventing decay. When food particles cannot stick inside the grooves of the teeth, the harmful bacteria are not fed the sugar they need to survive, and thus, the decay is avoided. Sealants are usually reserved for children, but adults can request this preventive treatment as well!
Step 5: Don’t Miss Your Preventive Dental Cleanings
The American Dental Association recommends professional cleanings at least every 6 months for those with healthy gums, and more frequently (usually every 3-4 months) for those with gum disease. These appointments are very important for the dental team to monitor any suspicious areas, take regular x-rays and perform routine exams to ensure your mouth is decay-free. If problems are noted, they can be addressed as quickly as possible.
The moral of the story? Prevention is the best option when it comes to tooth decay treatment in Ventura. Schedule your checkup today!
Are you ready to improve your smile? Schedule an appointment with Ventura cosmetic & restorative dentist Dr. David Satnick, DDS, or for more information call 805.639.3050 today.
Read Related Articles: