How to Limit Tooth Decay

Flossing and brushing your teeth at least twice a day is a great contribution to your oral hygiene, but it may not be enough to prevent tooth decay. Your diet and nutrition have a considerable impact on the health of your teeth and mouth. Here are some ideas to help you avoid tooth decay and even improve the health of your teeth by changing what you eat and drink and keeping your teeth properly clean.

Reduce Your Sugar Intake

Tooth decay occurs when the tooth enamel is destroyed. This destruction takes place when the bacteria that form on teeth, also known as plaque, breaks down the enamel over time. Since sugar increases acidity and bacterial counts in the mouth, consuming sugary foods and beverages is one of the major causes of tooth decay. Avoiding sugar altogether would be difficult, because it is present in so many foods and beverages, but a balanced diet will help to keep your teeth healthy. When you do eat or drink something sweet, it is better to do so at mealtime and to eat a variety of foods with it. This keeps the sugar from sitting on your teeth for too long because the saliva produced from your consistent chewing washes away the sugar. Brushing your teeth after a meal, snack, or drinking a sugary beverage is the best way to prevent plaque from building up but if that is not possible, rinsing your mouth with water will also help to wash away the sugar and keep the bacteria from attacking your tooth enamel. Chewing sugar-free gum is another good way to reduce bacteria in your mouth.

Eat Healthy Foods

Foods that are high in protein, calcium, and phosphates are great for protecting the health of your teeth and mouth. Below are some of the best foods to promote your oral health.

  • Fruits and Vegetables- eating these helps to get rid of bacteria in your mouth while you chew, since they are high in water and fiber. Dark leafy greens, edamame, broccoli, figs, and oranges are especially good because they are also high in calcium.
  • Lean Proteins- meat, tofu, soybeans, fish, milk, eggs, and poultry contain protein and phosphorous and can help to protect and restore tooth enamel.
  • Dairy Products- cheese and yogurt are both high in calcium but do not contain much sugar, so they help to strengthen your teeth. 

Clean Your Teeth

On top of brushing and flossing your teeth frequently, you can also use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash to help strengthen your teeth. Use floss or an interdental cleaner between your teeth, rinse, and then brush.  You should also regularly visit your dentist to have your teeth cleaned and examined. Your dentist will be able to see weak spots in your teeth and perform preventative treatments, such as dental sealants, to ward off tooth decay and cavities. Seeing your dentist regularly and following their directions, along with these tips, can keep you from needing potentially costly and painful dental repairs done.