By Susan Braden
The hardest material in your body is tooth enamel, but even enamel can break down overtime. The most hurtful thing to your enamel is cavities, most often caused by plaque buildup. Sticky plaque can grow easily if lingering food particles are not brushed off. As plaque collects, it releases acid that can break through your enamel and begin tooth decay. By implementing 4 low cost dental strategies, however, you can begin to win the battle against tooth decay.
The best way to begin affordable dentistry maintenance is to establish a routine of daily brushing and flossing. You can best maintain your oral hygiene by brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day. This removes the bacteria and food debris that can cause cavities. When buying a toothbrush, it is smart to purchase one with a smaller head that is most able to reach around and in between each tooth. Dentists recommend toothpaste containing fluoride for maximum effectiveness. Daily flossing is a great way to keep food or bacteria from collecting in between each tooth.
Fluoride is a tooth-protecting substance that exists in ample amounts in most tap water. For children who do not have access to an adequate amount of fluoride in their drinking water, fluoride is also available in gels, tablets, or drops prescribed by dentists for children under age 13. Fluoride is also found in most toothpastes, and works to strengthen the enamel of your teeth, helping to prevent decay and cavities. After you floss, rinsing your mouth out with a fluoridated mouthwash helps to wash away remaining bacteria on your teeth and gum line. As you shop for fluoridated oral care products, choose only those marked with the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Acceptance.
There are certain foods that help prevent tooth decay, and others that do not. A healthy, tooth-preserving option is to eat two vegetables a day to replace damaging foods such as candy and potato chips. Refined sugars and carbohydrates such as candy or chips readily stick in the grooves of your teeth, whereas fruits and vegetables often do not. Some fruits and vegetables actually help clean your teeth by dislodging food particles and by activating your saliva’s cleansing properties. Chewing sugar-free gum also helps to clear away lingering food particles.
Highly acidic fruits like lemons and limes contribute to the break-down of tooth enamel. Small amounts of lemon juice will not seriously affect teeth, but frequent consumption will damage the enamel over time, causing decay. Thus, the dangerous habit of sucking on lemons, oranges or grapefruits should be avoided. A healthy habit of brushing the teeth after consumption of acidic fruits, juices or even flavored popsicles will best insure against the attrition of the tooth enamel.
Refined sugars, most commonly found in candy, can cause a great deal of tooth decay due to the acidity they produce in the mouth. Sugar naturally sticks to tooth enamel, especially in the case of gummy candies. The bacteria that exists in the mouth use sugar as a form of energy to grow and glue themselves to teeth. This growing and gluing affect makes it more difficult for bacteria to be washed away by saliva and brushing. Reducing sugar consumption is the best way to prevent tooth decay.
Visiting a dentist at least twice annually is an exceptional way to ensure affordable tooth maintenance. Through exams and x-rays, dentists are able to detect any potential problems with your teeth early on before cavities spread. Also, teeth cleanings by a hygienist help to ensure that plaque does not harden into tartar on your teeth.
You can maintain affordable dental treatment by following these 4 steps and by using good judgment when caring for your teeth. Brushing at least twice a day, flossing, and consuming the proper diet will allow you to maintain healthy teeth. Furthermore, regular dentist visits can ensure affordable teeth maintenance for a lifetime.