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What Is Tooth Decay And How To Maintain Healthy Teeth

For the eternal bright smiles

By Kath Wong | June 18th, 2021

Throughout our lifetime, tooth decay and cavities are among the world’s most common health problems which could happen in all ages, especially children, teenagers, and older adults. Our teeth are strong and yet delicate enough to get damaged when they have not been taken good care of. 

Naturally, teeth appear covered in a hard, outer coating called enamel. The build-up of dental plaque, a thin film of bacteria on teeth, can happen every single day; this could cause acid production that can harm the enamel permanently, as well as having a high chance that can lead to a bigger problem known as cavities. 

Cavities (dental caries) are holes in the teeth; they are simply caused by the accumulation of bacteria in the mouth along with the prolonged tooth decay left untreated. When the condition happens, there is nothing we could do but to have them fixed with fillings performed only by the dentists. 


Tips To Prevent Tooth Decay

Although we may have already experienced tooth decay at least once in our lifetime, it is never too late to start seeing the importance and taking notes about good oral hygiene. 

Not just the teeth, but gums can have diseases too! Good oral hygiene is never doubted the necessity to keep both our teeth and gums healthy; here are some essential tips:

1. Never go to bed without brushing your teeth:

It is important to brush your teeth at least twice a day, after waking up and before going to bed as this helps to remove plaque and bacteria that could be stuck and inhabit your teeth for a long period of time. 

2. Make sure you brush your teeth using the correct technique:

Instead of sawing back and forth, the right way to brush your teeth is by using small circular motions in every dimension (front, back, and top of every tooth). Avoid brushing too hard as it may cause permanent damage to the tooth enamel as well as the gums. Do not forget to brush your tongue, where the bacteria can accumulate.

3. Floss once a day:

Flossing can reach and remove the plaque and bacteria between the teeth where it is difficult for toothbrushes to do so; it also helps to prevent bad breath by getting rid of debris and food that has become trapped between the teeth. Gently push the floss all the way down to the gum line before hugging the sides with up-and-down motions to not cause pain. 

4. Consider using a mouthwash:

Mouthwashes are not meant to substitute brushing and flossing, but they are used to complement both practices as they contain an antibacterial ingredient called chlorhexidine that helps to control plaque and gingivitis. 

5. No smoking:

The body takes more time to heal as smoking harms the body’s immune system, this includes the healing of tissues in the mouth as well. As a consequence, smoking leads to yellowing of the teeth and tongue, giving the breath a bad odour. 

6. Control your diet:

Limit starches and sugary foods for better teeth health; sugars can lead to cavities, whereas too many starchy foods can also cause tooth decay as they linger in the mouth and break down into simple sugars, which the bacteria feed on. Drinking more plain water and consuming fruits and vegetables are highly recommended.

7. A teeth checkup every 6 months: 

Your dentist can help to check for visual signs of tooth decay, cavities, gum diseases, mouth cancer, and various other issues. Moreover, it is best to schedule regular teeth cleaning sessions to ensure you have the plaque and hardened tartar removed in time before they start to harm your teeth. 

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