Tooth decay doesn’t happen overnight, but once it starts, it can progress until you face serious oral health issues. The condition produces cavities, something that anyone with teeth is susceptible to, according to the Mayo Clinic. Tooth decay is most common in children, teens and adults, but even infants can suffer from it. It’s vitally important to take steps to prevent tooth decay right from the start. Not only does this protect primary and adult teeth, but it also sets the stage for making healthy oral decisions for life.
No, infants don’t always have teeth, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care for their gums and future teeth. Before the first tooth erupts, wipe your baby’s gum with a damp, warm washcloth after she eats. At the same time, don’t transfer your own saliva into your little’s one mouth, advises the American Dental Association. This means you shouldn’t sanitize a dropped pacifier with your own spit. You should also refrain from sharing eating utensils or straws. This prevents bacteria in your mouth from getting into your baby’s mouth, which is an easy way to prevent tooth decay at an early age. Once your baby begins to get teeth, use a fluoride-free toothpaste until she can brush without swallowing it.
Childhood and Adult Prevention
Once your child is able to successfully brush his teeth without ingesting most of the toothpaste, switch to a product that contains fluoride. This nutrient is important for preventing tooth decay in kids and adults of all ages. Use a pea-sized amount and brush all surfaces of the teeth, twice a day. Let your child brush his own teeth, but check them when he’s done to make sure he did a thorough job. The Mayo Clinic also recommends brushing after meals, if possible. Use fluoride mouthwash daily as well, which helps remove additional food and bacteria from your mouth.
Children and adults should floss once daily to remove germs and bacteria from between the teeth. Most people don’t fully remove debris with a toothbrush alone, so flossing is an ideal way to prevent tooth decay at any age.
Regular dental appointments are extra insurance against tooth decay. We can give you a professional cleaning once or twice a year to remove plaque buildup and protect your smile. We can also give you tips and tricks for taking good care of your teeth and can detect tooth decay in its beginning stages, which helps keep it from getting worse. We can also apply dental sealants, which create a barrier between bacteria and your teeth.
Changing your eating and drinking habits is another easy way to prevent tooth decay, according to the Mayo Clinic. Drink tap water rather than bottled because the former contains fluoride. At the same time, limit sugary foods, such as candy and soda, and avoid snacking all day, which increases the amount of bacteria on your teeth. Eat cheese and plenty of fruits and vegetables, foods that help keep your teeth healthy. Chewing sugar-free gum is a good way to increase saliva production, which rinses harmful bacteria from your teeth.
You play the largest role in preventing tooth decay. It only takes a few minutes each day to do what’s best for your teeth. Take steps to get started and soon you’ll have formed a dental habit that you can benefit from for life.