If you’re among the 90% or more of adults who’ve had at least one cavity, than you probably know how important treating tooth decay early is. As a progressive disease, tooth decay continues to eat away your tooth as time goes by. While early detection is the best treatment, preventing tooth decay offers your best chance of saving your tooth. To help you protect your smile, Wynnewood dentist, Dr. Thomas DeFinnis, explains the most common risk factors for tooth decay and how you can avoid them.
The simplicity of brushing and flossing your teeth may fool people into underestimating the importance of maintaining the routine. Not brushing thoroughly, or often enough, can allow germs in dental plaque to accumulate, growing stronger as they gather. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, for at least two minutes each time, and floss at least once to reduce your risk of cavities.
Dental plaque, the sticky substance that sometimes coats your teeth, is made of oral bacteria. Some of these germs convert the sugar and carbs in your meals into lactic acid, which weakens your tooth’s enamel. Acid also eats your teeth’s minerals (a process called demineralization), which prevents enamel from strengthening itself (through remineralization). Frequently snacking throughout the day provides a steady supply of fuel for germs to create acid. Instead, eat three complete meals a day, brushing your teeth after each meal when possible.
Although the American Dental Association (ADA) suggests visiting your dentist at least once every six months (or sooner if recommended), many people do not even consider dental visits until their teeth begin to trouble them. However, most oral health issues, including gum disease and tooth decay, do not cause physical discomfort until they’ve already progressed from their minor stage. By maintaining a regular dental checkup and cleaning schedule, you can allow Dr. DeFinnis the chance to inspect your mouth for early signs of infection and disease and create an appropriate treatment plan. Early detection significantly increases your chances of successfully halting progressive oral diseases.
To learn more about protecting your oral health, contact our Wynnewood dental office to discuss your smile-improvement options. You can schedule a dental checkup with our Wynnewood dentist, Dr. DeFinnis, by calling Wynnewood Dental Arts at 610-642-0139.