What can I do to prevent tooth decay?
All dentists will give you the same advice:
- Brush your teeth at least twice daily with the right type of brush and using a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
- Use dental floss to clean between your teeth to remove any food caught there, and also scrape the tooth surface of smaller debris that can lie on the tooth surface.
- Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups so that they can keep an eye on any trouble spots and refresh you on your cleaning techniques.
- Being choosy about the things you eat and drink – for example sticky sweet foods mean extra attention is needed for your daily dental hygiene routine.
Other things that help in preventing tooth decay are:
Drinking fluoridated water
Bottled water doesn’t have fluoride, which means that your teeth are missing out on the tooth strengthening benefits of fluoride when you drink it instead of tap water (in Australia).
Using fluoride supplements
Even if you’re getting fluoride from water and your toothpaste, your particular genetics may mean that you are naturally more vulnerable to tooth decay so, need to take or use supplemental fluoride.
Getting pit and fissure sealant
Your dentist is able to apply a protective coating on the chewing surfaces of your back teeth that seals the pits and grooves of these teeth so that nothing harmful can happen. This treatment is completely pain-free.
The following things can also help prevent tooth decay in some people:
- Flushing out your mouth with mouth rinse containing fluoride
- Antibacterial mouth rinse swished about in your mouth
- Chewing gum high in Xylitol
- Have a 4-hour recovery break in between eating sugary foods
- Rinsing out your mouth as sooner after drinking or eating something sweet as you can
- Eat fewer meals per day and cut back on snacking