Tooth decay occurs when natural oral bacteria reach a weak area in a tooth’s enamel. Then the bacteria eat into the dental structure, severely harming your smile. Most of us will develop a cavity, which happens when decay creates a hole in the enamel.
But you might not realize that you can make efforts to reverse the early stages of tooth decay. A dentist can identify warning signs of decay before it becomes a cavity. And you can work with them to reverse the decay before it needs further intervention from a dentist to treat. Read on to find three ways that you can stop tooth decay and protect your smile from cavities.
Avoid Acidic Substances in Your Diet
One major way that you could weaken your enamel is by consuming foods and drinks that are highly acidic. These substances erode the enamel of your teeth when they reach your mouth. Once deteriorated, your enamel will not regenerate, so you will be left with weak, thin spots in your teeth where bacteria can penetrate.
So you should pay attention to your diet to make sure that you do not eat too many of these types of foods that could harm your dental structure. Keeping your teeth strong makes them better able to resist tooth decay.
To illustrate an example of potentially harmful foods, citrus fruits and juices feature high amounts of acid. And sugar becomes acidic when it reacts with saliva.
Tobacco products also contain acids that could erode your enamel. So avoid smoking and chewing these items. Ask your dentist for more dietary advice that can preserve your smile.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Your mouth contains natural bacteria that create a film of plaque over your teeth every day. Plaque will erode your enamel if left on your teeth. And lingering plaque allows bacteria to spread, increasing your risk of tooth decay and many other dental dangers.
Practicing oral hygiene removes plaque in a timely fashion before it can hurt your smile. Make sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily for thorough cleaning of your smile.
Stay consistent with this at-home oral health care, and use thorough, purposeful techniques to maximize oral cleanliness. You should also visit your dentist for routine teeth cleanings for optimal preventative dentistry.
Consider Fluoride Treatment
Your dentist can help you strengthen your teeth to reverse decay before it severely damages your smile. For instance, fluoride treatment involves a dentist applying a gel, paste, or rinse to your teeth containing concentrated fluoride. This naturally occurring mineral absorbs into teeth to fortify the enamel.
Then the teeth can have a stronger shield against oral bacteria, and you can see a reduced risk of cavities. Certain mouthwashes, foods, and drinks also contain fluoride, including tap water. Talk to your dentist about fluoride treatment and other ways you can fight cavities and protect your dental health at your next dental appointment.