Tooth decay is a persistent problem many suffer from, but staying away from this painful experience is easier than you may think. In the past, tooth decay left nearly 17 million people older than 45 with few or none of the natural teeth. Until 1970, tooth decay was the center of many debates; whether it was caused by vitamin deficiency or bacteria. Today, however, tooth decay is on the decline. Due to modern prevention methods, far fewer adults need the kind of extensive treatments that their parents worried about, but as many as 23% of adults have untreated tooth decay.
There are several steps to take in preventing this problem. Methods of prevention are often simple, and can be done at home, requiring only a sense of commitment and a few supplies. The easiest, and most well-known, is brushing your teeth after meals with fluoride toothpaste. Avoiding snacking can also help prevent tooth decay. If you are particularly susceptible, looking into fluoride and antibacterial treatments may be best. With fluoride treatments, your dentist concentrates fluoride on the teeth for several mintues; antibacterial treatments are more effective at ridding the mouth of decay causing bacteria than plain brushing.
Preventing tooth decay in children is especially important. From birth to twelve months, parents should wipe their baby’s gums off with a soft cloth until he or she reaches the age where teeth can be seen. Then, gently scrub the teeth with a baby toothbrush and water. Teach your child to drink from a cup as soon as they are able, as this helps prevent liquid build up around the teeth. Limit sweetened juice to four to six ounces a day, giving them mostly water. These steps will help set your child up for a lifetime of healthy teeth.
Tooth decay is very preventable, and these few tips can help you: brush after every meal, rinse your mouth out with water, and avoid extra snacks. If you’d prefer a more rigorous prevention, consider fluoride and antibacterial treatments from your dentist. For both adults and children, the prevention of tooth decay is not only important, it is also easy to do.