Tooth Decay Prevention Tips
While it’s true that not everyone loves going to the dentist, they definitely would prefer visiting the dentist for a routine cleaning over preventable dental work. Tooth decay is a serious issue that can lead to a whole other host of problems. It’s important to prevent cavities well before they begin with proper oral hygiene. The dentists at Parker West Dental Associates in Plano, TX have provided some excellent tips to help keep your teeth healthy and your dental visits down to twice a year.
Brush...and brush often
This one is pretty obvious to most, but sometimes it helps to remind people that the best way to prevent cavities is by brushing. It’s recommended that you brush your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day. Singing a song in your head or placing a timer on the counter can help pass the time and ensure you’re brushing long enough. It’s good to assist younger children with brushing until they’re old enough to brush correctly on their own.
Don’t forget to floss
Brushing alone is not always sufficient in keeping cavities at bay. Flossing is an important step that many people forget to do. Flossing reaches areas that toothbrushes can’t get to and also helps to remove objects from between the teeth. More importantly, flossing helps to prevent cavities from forming between the teeth.
Lead by example
Children like to mimic their parents and follow their lead. It’s important to be a good role model and show your children what all proper oral hygiene entails. Scheduling semi-annual routine cleanings are also another way to teach them the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene. When you set a good example and encourage healthy habits, you reduce the risk of tooth decay for yourself and your family.
Examine your teeth
When you feel or see signs of tooth decay, you should immediately schedule an appointment with your dentist. Usually, the first sign of tooth decay is persistent tooth sensitivity. This causes a sharp pain when you drink or eat something that’s hot or cold. As tooth decay progresses, you may notice headaches, painful chewing, teeth discoloration, and finally, visible pits or holes. If you’d rather suffer through the pain than go to the dentist because of fear and anxiety, contact our office to inquire about sedation. Avoiding treatment for a cavity will not make it go away. Parker West Dental in Plano, TX offers different levels of sedation so it’s easy to stay calm and relaxed throughout your visit.
Sealants can be helpful
If you really want to avoid cavities a dental sealant can be placed on top of your teeth to help protect them from decay. Sealants consist of a flexible, plastic material that is placed over your premolars and molars. Sealants can help to reduce the risk of cavities in this area since the crevices on top of your back teeth can trap bacteria and leave them vulnerable to tooth decay. Sealants can be applied in one quick visit for years of protection. Sealants are usually recommended for children since they haven’t developed a consistent oral hygiene routine yet. Adults may also be good candidates for sealants if they are prone to developing cavities.
Watch what you eat and drink
Sugar in food and drinks can make it easier for tooth decay to develop. It’s important to pay attention to what you and your children are eating and drinking. If you eat or drink something that has a high sugar content, it's best to brush your teeth right away. The longer the sugar stays on the teeth the more harm it can cause. We all know children love their sugary snacks and candy so it’s definitely a good idea to stay on top of their dental hygiene for this reason alone.
The power of fluoride treatments
Fluoride treatments aren’t just for kids. Many dentists suggest professional fluoride treatments for children starting at six years old until they are about 16 to 18 years old. However, if an adult is prone to developing cavities a professional fluoride treatment may be very beneficial to their oral health. Our Plano, TX dental practice offers in-office fluoride treatments as well as prescription fluoride mouthwash and tablets you can use between visits.
Visit your dentist regularly
Although your dentist probably loves your visits, they don’t schedule your routine cleanings just to hang out and chat. Routine cleanings are incredibly important appointments that are used to not only clean, but also assess the state of your teeth and gums. Your oral health is dependent on knowing what is going on inside of your mouth. During the routine appointment your teeth will be cleaned and polished and your dentist will check your teeth for any problems or potential problems. You may also be due for x-rays and if so, these can be taken in-office. Dentists look at the x-ray to see if there’s something going on with the teeth or bone that isn’t visible to the naked eye. The sooner the dental problems are identified, the more treatment options you may have available, and usually if the issue is caught early the treatments are less invasive. So do yourself a favor and go to your dentist twice a year for an exam and cleanings to avoid bigger problems that start with tooth decay.
Ready to schedule your appointment?
If you’re ready to schedule a routine cleaning and dental exam to ensure your teeth and gums are healthy, then please contact our Plano, TX dental office to get your appointment scheduled and keep tooth decay at bay. You’re in good hands with one of our highly-skilled, board-certified dentists on staff. You’ll be able to get your teeth cleaned, examined, and be on your way in one quick visit.
We look forward to your visit and having you see why so many people choose Parker West Dental Associates for their dental needs.