Whether it is yourself or one of your children who develops tooth decay, the resulting discomfort and need for restorative care are simply no fun. We like to do all that we can to help our patients avoid the consequences of this common infectious oral disease. One of the best ways we can help you help yourself (and your family) is to explain what is really behind tooth decay. Then, you are better equipped to fight it!
Cavities prevention has long boiled down to a single recommendation: “avoid sugar.” This is still what many of our patients believe. How surprised they are when they do this and still struggle with tooth decay! The reason why avoiding sugar is only part of the cavity-prevention plan is because cavities are caused by acid; more directly, the acidic byproduct eliminated by bacteria. The microorganisms that live in the mouth nosh on sugar residue every chance they get. Here are some ways you can put a limit on their feasting:
- Eat however many meals you are going to eat in a day, but do not graze all day long. This inhibits your mouth from recovering from the acidity of chewing, and of the foods, you have consumed.
- If you eat something sticky or chewy, rinse your mouth out or brush your teeth. If any small particles have become lodged, floss!
- If you need to sip on a beverage throughout the day, make it water. Sugary beverages and even coffee degrade enamel and increase the acidity of the mouth.
- Don’t just brush every day, floss, too! Flossing isn’t only for the removal of food particles between teeth; this practice also inhibits the formation of plaque, which leads to tooth decay and gum disease.
- Schedule routine dental care by 12 months of age.
- Do not let your child go to sleep with a bottle, unless it contains only water.
- Clean new teeth using a soft cloth or infant toothbrush (non-fluoride toothpaste).
- Rinse your child’s mouth or brush teeth after administering liquid medication. These tend to have a fair amount of sugar.
- Talk with your dentist about fluoride treatments or dental sealants.
Advanced Dental Arts are proud to offer friendly care to families from Grayslake and surrounding areas. Call (847) 223-5200 to schedule your checkup and cleaning.