Prevention Is Better Than Cure: 10 Tips for How to Prevent Tooth Decay

When was the last time you went to the dentist?

If you’re having trouble thinking of this date, you may want to book an appointment right away. Going to the dentist on a regular basis is your best bet of preventing tooth decay.

But, there are plenty of other things you can do on your own to maintain good dental health. The thing is, you can’t do them every once in a while. You have to consistently work to give your teeth the best care possible if you don’t want any surprises when you do go to the dentist.

Here are 10 things you can do at home to prevent tooth decay.

1. Brush Your Teeth Regularly

There’s no excuse for not brushing your teeth. All it takes is 2-3 minutes out of your morning and evening routine to get your mouth clean.

This is a negligible part out of your day when you think about the grand scheme of things. But, constantly neglecting the responsibility of brushing your teeth adds up faster than you think.

The least you can do is brush thoroughly every morning and every night. If you want to prevent tooth decay even more, try to make a habit of brushing your teeth in the middle of the day after you eat lunch.

2. Try a Stronger Toothpaste

Remember to brush your gums and your tongue when you’re brushing your teeth. More so, consider using a stronger toothpaste than the one you’ve been using to make this effort better!

There are all kinds of special formulas for toothpaste out there. Some help whiten, others help prevent gum disease and the build-up of plaque, while others protect the enamel of your teeth. Take some time to try out a few different specially formulated toothpaste options and see which one works best for you.

3. Remember to Use Mouthwash

The next part of the decay prevention process is to use mouthwash.

Again, this is a dental tool you need to make use of in the morning and the evening. Not only will this help fight the decay of your teeth, but it can improve their overall aesthetics and control your bad breath, too.

4. Floss, Floss, Floss

This is the daily dental habit that most people avoid. You may have trouble flossing if you have a permanent retainer on your teeth. Or, maybe you have a perception that flossing takes too much time to do every day.

These are just excuses.

You have to ignore the things mind tries to tell you and do what’s best for your teeth. Start with flossing at least once a day and see how long it takes you to build up to twice a day. You’ll be surprised to discover that flossing is not as much of a hassle as you think!

5. Cut Back on Your Sugar Intake

Another dental health task that some people find difficult is to cut back on sugar.

This doesn’t just apply to sweet baked goods and candy. Your sugar intake includes the amount of soda and processed juices you drink, sports drinks, and some alcoholic beverages. Sugar is also in some “healthy” foods like protein bars and granola mixes.

All of these foods do a serious number on your teeth. They attack your teeth and start decaying them little by little until before you know it, you wind up with a cavity! Or worse, you may have to get a root canal procedure done or get a gum disease treatment.

6. Eat Healthy Foods

If you’re cutting back on processed sugars, you may as well start adding more healthy foods into your diet. There are certain foods that significantly benefit the condition of your dental health.

These include:

  • dairy products
  • lean proteins
  • fresh fruits and vegetables (not canned or frozen)
  • nuts

Try to watch your intake of starchy carbs like bread and pretzels. These turn into small particles when you chew such foods, which wedge in between your teeth and don’t come out easily.

7. Drink More Water

One way to encourage small pieces of food to detach from your teeth is to drink more water. Water encourages the release of more saliva in your mouth.

It can’t wash away all the crumbs hanging around your teeth. However, the saliva that drinking water produces is able to further prevent dental decay. This is your mouth’s natural way of responding to any unwanted substances lingering in your mouth.

8. Start Using Straws

The next way to prevent tooth decay is to start using straws.

Whether you use a plastic straw or a reusable straw is up to you. The point is to just try to prevent drinks other than water from sticking to your teeth.

But, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to cut back on your daily soda or coffee.

Such drinks will still damage your teeth even when you drink them through a straw. The thing is, they won’t be as damaging as they would without the straw. It’s a small way to make a better effort at tooth decay prevention.

9. Consider an Antibacterial Treatment

Even the smallest effort makes a big difference when you’re trying to figure out how to avoid tooth decay. But, there are more powerful ways to get the results you’re looking for–like getting an antibacterial treatment.

Ask your dentist about this the next time you go for a cleaning. An antibacterial treatment is a simple, pain-free procedure that does a better job of cleaning your teeth. It also helps prevent the build-up of bacteria after your appointment, which is what leads to tooth decay.

10. Educate Yourself About the Dangers of Tooth Decay

Maybe you’re not convinced that you need to cut back on sugar. Maybe you really just don’t feel like flossing every day, or you still don’t see the benefit.

If this is where your mind is at, you need to educate yourself about the dangers of tooth decay. The last thing you want is to end up with a mouth full of cavities and root canals because you neglected your dental health. Even worse, you could end up losing some of your teeth altogether and contracting additional health issues due to poor dental health.

That’s right–the wellbeing of your teeth has a direct effect on the rest of your body. Poor dental health and tooth decay can lead to other health problems like:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • diabetic issues
  • respiratory problems
  • dementia

Think about these things the next time you want to skip flossing, brushing, or your upcoming dental appointment.

What If You Still Can’t Prevent Tooth Decay?

Keep in mind that you can still end up with a tooth decay problem even if you do all of the things on this list. The likelihood of this happening does become a lot smaller, but there’s still a possibility of dental issues occurring.

That’s why your best bet to prevent tooth decay is to see your dentist.

This is the person who can tell you what’s really going on with your teeth. They’ll advise you of anything you need to change in your at-home care efforts and they can detect the early signs of tooth decay, too.

If it’s been a while since you’ve been to the dentist, click here to set up your next appointment and start improving your dental decay prevention efforts.