Take good care of your teeth, or your smile won't be as bright and beautiful as you'd like it to be. When you slack on brushing and flossing,oral care problems will result, which could lead to cavities and gum problems. Tooth decay is what happens when your tooth enamel is destroyed by the bacteria in plaque that produce acids which will eat away at the enamel. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth from the ever-present bacteria in your mouth, so you always have to be on your guard. After the damage has been done, can tooth decay be reversed? You can't always reverse tooth decay, but you can prevent it with healthy oral care, and here are just a few tips and tricks that can help.
Brush, Floss, Rinse, Repeat
Your daily dental habits are your first line of defense against tooth decay. Because plaque is always a threat to your oral health, you should brush it away twice a day to prevent tooth decay. Cleaning between your teeth daily with floss will rid your teeth of the plaque and leftover food particles that your toothbrush couldn't reach before plaque can turn into tartar or calculus; flossing also reduces your risk of gum disease and cavities. Add mouthwash to your daily regimen, which you can use to reduce plaque and control decay.
Fluoride is an essential part of keeping your teeth healthy. It helps prevent tooth decay from getting worse, and it can reverse mild decay as well, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Fluoride works by preventing and replacing mineral loss in tooth enamel and stopping bacteria from producing acid. Get your daily fluoride from brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste, rinsing with a fluoride rinse and drinking fluoridated water.
Chew Sugarless Gum
Did you know that sugar-free gum has dental benefits? First of all, the act of chewing gum stimulates your saliva production, which helps to neutralize and wash away acids on the teeth that could cause decay. Your teeth get extra protection when you chew sugar-free gum that's sweetened with xylitol, a sugar substitute that prevents decay by stopping acid production, decreasing bacteria and enhancing the remineralization of teeth, as detailed on WebMD. Sugarless gum can be a great backup option between your regular brushing and flossing sessions while you're on the go, and fresh breath is a nice bonus.
Get a Prescription Mouthwash
Prescription mouthwash, available at your dentist's office, can also help. An antibacterial rinse is more effective in reducing the amount of harmful bacteria in your mouth than your everyday over-the-counter mouthwash, as explained by the Mayo Clinic. Try the Colgate® PerioGard® anti-microbial rinse, which also heals swollen and irritated gums and fights gingivitis.
Follow Up with Your Dentist
So, can tooth decay be reversed? There are no magical cures for tooth decay, and your teeth are better off if you take steps to prevent tooth decay instead of trying to undo what most often can't be undone. Even after trying all the aforementioned tips, it's best to ask your dentist for guidance on how you can take action. Only 61.6 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 64 have seen their dentist in the past year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Be sure to show up to your regular appointments so you can be checked for cavities and get cleanings to prevent future dental problems. You can also ask about getting dental sealants over your molars and premolars; sealants provide a protective coating to block out acids and bacteria. By continuing to give your teeth the loving care that they deserve, you'll ensure that they are in top shape for years to come.