Tooth decay is the destruction of tooth structure and can affect both the enamel (the outer coating of the tooth) and the dentin layer of the tooth.
Tooth decay occurs when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches), such as breads, cereals, milk, soda, fruits, cakes, or candy are left on the teeth. Bacteria that live in the mouth digest these foods, turning them into acids. The bacteria, acid, food debris, and saliva combine to form plaque, which clings to the teeth. The acids in plaque dissolve the enamel surface of the teeth, creating holes in the teeth called cavities.
Make it a habit to brush your teeth after eating, using either a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush
with soft, rounded bristles. Ideally, brush your teeth after eating rather than before. However, do not brush your teeth for at least 30 minutes after a meal as this can damage your teeth, particularly if you have eaten food high in carbohydrates or sugar.
Clean between your teeth daily with dental floss or interdental cleaners, such as the Oral-B Interdental Brush, Reach Stim-U-Dent, or Sulcabrush.
Avoid sugar, processed flour and grain products such as bread, crackers, biscuits, donuts etc. Colas, artificial flavors, colourings or foods with any artificial ingredients don't offer any nutritional value, and our bad for our overall health including our teeth. Any type of processed convenience food should be avoided to enjoy optimum teeth and gums.
Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exam. Your dentist will tell you what dental sealants (a plastic protective coating) applied to the chewing surfaces of your back teeth (molars) to use to protect them from decay.
Drink fluoridated water. At least a pint of fluoridated water each day is needed to protect children from tooth decay.
Maintaining good oral hygiene through brushing and flossing your teeth is one of the most effective ways to prevent tooth decay. You can also change your diet.
Researchers are developing new means to prevent tooth decay. One study found that a chewing gum that contains the sweetener xylitol temporarily retarded the growth of bacteria that cause tooth decay. In addition, several materials that slowly release fluoride over time, which will help prevent further decay, are being explored. These dental materials
would be placed between teeth or in pits and fissures of teeth. Toothpastes and mouth rinses that can reverse and "heal" early cavities are also being studied.
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