Six Ways To Control Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is an increasing problem and it usually leads to tooth loss due to extractions.

The removal of teeth has negative effects as teeth play an important role in chewing, speech and aesthetics. However before we talk about how we can control tooth decay, we will have an overview of the tooth decay process.

How teeth decay

Tooth decay occurs when certain types of bacteria found in the mouth act on food and in the event create acids that damage the tooth structure which is made of enamel in the top layer and dentin in the inner layer.

The tooth naturally re-mineralises lost tooth surface but if the exposure of bacteria to food on a tooth surface is high, demineralisation (or damage) will occur at a faster rate, causing tooth decay.

Now the six steps to control tooth decay.

1. Dietary control

It is important that one monitors the amount of starchy foods or any foods that contain carbohydrates or sugars such as, candy, cakes and even sugars in fruits. Bacteria act upon these to form acids. However, one cannot stop having these foods, but their intake has to be monitored. Avoid snacks and rather have the food you’d have normally had as a snack during main meal times.

This reduces the frequency at which acid is created. If one eats 20 sweets spaced throughout the day, they are more likely to have tooth decay than one who eats the 20 sweets at one go

2. Plaque control

Plaque is a thin sticky bio-film that attaches on tooth surface and allows bacteria and food to stick to tooth surface as well. In order to prevent decay, plaque has to be removed on a daily basis as it accumulates within a short period of time. This is done by tooth brushing, flossing and professional cleaning of teeth. If there is no plaque on the tooth surface the bacteria have nothing to attach to.

One may use disclosing solutions to check the effectiveness of plaque removal. The unclean areas will usually remain with the dye after mouth rinsing with the solution. Disclosing solutions or tablets are sold in pharmacies.

3. Taking of fluorides

Fluorides help teeth become more resistant to demineralization and therefore play an important role in preventing tooth decay. They may be taken through supplements that may come as tablets. Most tooth pastes have fluoride within them as well. Food such as spinach, liver, eggs, fish, green tea and chicken contain small amounts of Fluorides. However, too much intake of Fluoride may cause fluoride poisoning or Fluorosis (seen as a brown pigment on the teeth).

4. Fissure sealants

The grooves, fissures and pits normally found on back teeth may be so deep as to allow food to be trapped within them. However tooth brush bristles may not dislodge all the food in those pits, hence the need for fissure sealants. Fissure sealants are coatings bonded to biting surfaces and grooves of back teeth to protect them from decay.

5. Salivary Flow

Saliva neutralizes acids in the mouth and provides protective minerals and proteins to the teeth. If the mouth is kept dry, the acid levels in the mouth may rise without control; therefore salivary flow has to be stimulated. Salivary flow may be stimulated by eating sugar-free gum and drinking water. It may be suppressed by certain drugs or habits such as smoking.

6. Anti-Bacterial Mouth Rinses

These are rinses that your dentist may prescribe that are able to reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in your mouth, hence the occurrence of tooth decay.

Most of the outlined steps are quite easy to follow, a combination of all these steps will definitely keep ones teeth from decay or further decay.

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