A smile has many benefits. It makes people feel good, it helps to fight stress and it spreads from face to face when it’s used. However, rotten teeth can take the shine off a smile and make people wary of showing how happy they are. Once teeth start to decay, it’s not just a person’s smile that suffers either. Rotten teeth can cause pain and they can lead to issues with the gums, jawbone and root canal.
So, what is the best way to avoid problems with rotten teeth, and keep your smile bright? There are several steps that you can take to protect your teeth and keep them in good condition. In order to understand the ways in which you can guard against tooth decay, it helps to know what causes it in the first place. We have detailed below 5 ways to avoid getting rotten teeth.
What causes rotten teeth?
Teeth start to decay when acid, remnants of food, bacteria and saliva mix together in the mouth. When this happens plaque forms, and it sticks to the teeth. The plaque starts to dissolve the teeth, causing cavities to appear. It’s these cavities that the dentist fills when necessary. If the situation is not dealt with, infection, tooth loss and bone loss can happen.
The good news is that there are ways to prevent teeth from rotting. If you take care of your teeth, they can remain in good condition well into old age. It has been known for people in their nineties to still have all their own teeth. The steps you can take to stop your teeth from rotting are quite simple.
Brush your teeth
Brushing your teeth regularly and well is essential, if you want to prevent tooth decay. You only need to spend two minutes, twice a day, doing this and the results are worth it. Always make sure that you brush your teeth last thing before you go to bed at night. They also need to be brushed at another time during the day. Next time you have a check up, talk to the dentist about your daily routine and they will help you to work out when it’s best to brush your teeth on this other occasion.
When you brush your teeth remember to use the right method. Spending the whole two minutes simply rubbing the brush backwards and forwards across your teeth is not going to keep them healthy.
Floss your teeth
Brushing alone is not guaranteed to prevent problems with rotten teeth. You need to remove debris and plaque from between your teeth and around your gum line. To do this, you need to floss your teeth once each day. Take your time doing this and follow the right steps to make sure that the flossing works as well as it should.
Eat the right foods
The food that you eat can have a dramatic effect on the condition of your teeth. You may think that if you avoid eating sweets you are fine; but this is not necessarily the case. Any food containing carbohydrates, such as bread, can be digested by the bacteria that is present in your mouth, and turned into acid. Foods that are highly acidic, such as citrus fruits, can also cause damage.
There are some food tips that you should know about if you want to stop your teeth from rotting and being damaged.
Limit intake of sweets
This may seem obvious, but it’s still worth mentioning. If you are going to eat sweets choose a type that does not spend a lot of time in your mouth and is not sticky. For instance, sucking on a lollipop causes your teeth to be in contact with sugar for a lot longer than simply eating a soft centre chocolate.
It’s always best to eat sweet items as part of a main meal and to eat healthier items, such as a piece of non-citrus fruit, if you feel like a snack.
Avoid starchy foods that can stick
Foods such as a sandwich made with soft white bread and a packet of crisps may taste great but they can quickly become stuck between your teeth. When this happens, the process of plaque forming starts and you are on your way to a problem with tooth decay.
Avoid carbonated soft drinks
It’s important to keep your body hydrated. The amount of fluid needed for this to happen varies from person to person, but it’s generally around eight medium sized glasses each day. If you are trying to decide what to drink, sticking to water is a good idea. Carbonated soft drinks are often loaded with sugar and they may contain phosphoric and citric acids which can cause teeth to erode. Acid is also often present in fruit juice, so you should also avoid drinking too many of these juices.
Include plenty of fibre and vegetables in your diet
Foods that are high in fibre help to keep your mouth cleansed. They promote the production of saliva which starts to help reduce the effects of sugar and acids on your teeth after you have eaten foods containing them. Foods that are high in fibre are also a much better option than refined carbohydrates if you want to protect your general health and ward off conditions such as type II diabetes.
Do not forget your tongue
It’s important that you do not forget your tongue when you are taking care of your oral hygiene. The tongue is a place where bacteria gather, so you should always brush the surface of your tongue, or use a tongue scraper, when you brush your teeth. Doing so helps to prevent the bacteria from causing plaque to build-up in your mouth, leading to rotten teeth if it’s not dealt with.
Visit the dentist to Avoid Getting Rotten Teeth
Taking care of your teeth at home does not mean that you do not need to visit the dentist. Many people are reluctant to do this, but a dental exam is a good thing, not a scary one. It can help to uncover problems in their early stages, and stop teeth from rotting in the first place. The team at The Neem Tree knows how important it is to make every patient feel comfortable when they visit for a dental exam. There are also facilities for people to make an emergency appointment if the symptoms of tooth problems are causing concern.
You should always make a dental appointment if you have any of these problems including:
- Sensitivity in your teeth.
- Holes or dents in your teeth.
- Noticeable dark or white staining to your teeth.
- Pain when you bite.
You should also visit the dentist every six months, for an exam and to have your teeth professionally cleaned, even if there does not appear to be a problem.
These dental visits should be combined with the other factors we have mentioned, to keep your teeth clean and healthy. This helps you to avoid getting rotten teeth.
For further information please contact one of our dental clinics and we would be delighted to help you.