August 31, 2018
Each day, a tug of war takes place inside our mouths. On one side are the foods and drinks we consume that contain sugar, which bacteria in our mouth converts into acids that eat away at tooth enamel. On the other team is our saliva, which helps repair teeth by replacing the minerals removed by the acids. When the sugary, bacteria-filled team are winning, white spots can appear on your teeth. Those spots are where minerals have been lost and are a sign of early tooth decay. However, at this point – before a cavity forms – there is still the possibility to reverse the decay. Here are a few tips from a family dentist in Yakima on how to prevent tooth decay from progressing and further damaging your mouth.
Double Down on Good Oral Hygiene Habits
If you are a casual brusher who skips cleaning your teeth every so often, now is the time to double down and commit to good oral hygiene habits. To prevent tooth decay, brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day for a full two minutes each time. In addition to brushing, flossing at least once a day can reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease by ridding your teeth of harmful plaque and leftover food particles that your toothbrush could not reach. Lastly, incorporating mouthwash into your daily oral care routine can reduce plaque and control decay.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, fluoride can help prevent tooth decay from getting worse and even reverse mild decay. It does this by preventing and replacing mineral loss in tooth enamel and stopping bacteria in your mouth from producing acid that harms your teeth. Fortunately, most cities, towns and villages in the U.S. fluoridate their public drinking water. However, you should also consider brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste and incorporating a mouthwash with fluoride into your daily oral hygiene routine.
Chew Sugarless Gum
Did you know that chewing gum can benefit your oral health? When you chew gum, your mouth produces more saliva, which helps to neutralize and wash away acids that can cause tooth decay.
When shopping for sugar-free gum, look at the ingredients list on the back of the packaging for the ingredient xylitol. Xylitol, a sugar substitute, provides extra protection to your teeth by stopping acid production, decreasing bacteria in your mouth and enhancing the remineralization of your teeth.
The best way to maintain a healthy mouth is to practice good oral hygiene habits and see a dentist every six months for a routine checkup. However, if you develop tooth decay and catch it in the beginning stages, these above tips from a dentist in Chesterfield could help reverse the damage and keep your smile healthy and whole!
About the Author
A proud graduate of the University of Washington School of Dentistry, Dr. Lyle Bonny has been caring for smiles in Yakima for nearly 30 years. With the support of his knowledgeable and welcoming team at the Terrace Heights Dental Center, Dr. Bonny provides everything from preventive dentistry services to dental implants and emergency dentistry. Patients searching for a “dentist near me” can contact Dr. Lyle Bonny via his website or by calling the office at 509-248-4957.
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