Worried About Tooth Decay? Avoid These Behaviors!
Tooth decay is so incredibly common it’s estimated that over 95 percent of adults in the United States have or do suffer from it. This can mean the smallest chink in your enamel armor to full-blown cavities, but there’s one thing for sure: tooth decay is everywhere! At Millburn Dental Arts we work tirelessly to prevent tooth decay and protect your smile, but we can’t do it alone!
You probably only see us every six months or so, and between your regular cleanings a healthy mouth is up to you! You might not realize all the things that can potentially harm your teeth, but they’re many in number and easy to overlook! Some are far more common than others, and that’s what we want to talk about today: tooth decay and how to avoid it!
Do You Know What Tooth Decay Is?
It’s important to know what causes decay: know your enemy! Unfortunately in this case your enemy is always present and is very persistent: plaque.
Plaque is made up of countless bacteria that live inside your mouth and thrive in the wet, warm environment you provide them. The worst part is that their favorite food is also one of yours: sugar! Whenever you eat a sweet treat or even a starchy one (starch carbs break down into sugar) plaque bacteria feast and produce acid that destroys your enamel!
As enamel is slowly eaten away you end up with cavities that can get worse and worse! The following are just some of the habits that help bacteria win the war on your teeth …
Eating Citrus Fruit
If you had to guess what part of citrus is bad on your teeth what would you guess?
If acids come to mind you’re right! It’s a bummer for fans of sucking on lemons, but the acids that give citrus fruits their signature tartness are just as bad, if not worse, than plaque acids. That’s even before considering the sugar that citrus contains!
When you eat acidic foods or drinks you’re really doing bacteria a favor: you’re skipping the sugar and going right for the main offender! With your enamel weakened by the citrus acids plaque bacteria can have a field day with any sugar you ate or drank along with it.
Make sure that you always follow up a citrus snack with some water, but never brush your teeth! Acid actually weakens your enamel and makes it easier for it to be scraped away by overzealous brushing. A glass of water will help wash away the acids and fruit pulp that remains, adding a layer of defense against the onslaught of acid.
Bad Brushing Habits
Brushing your teeth is the first line of defense against plaque bacteria. If you aren’t a disciplined brusher or occasionally skip then you’re setting yourself up for some serious dental decay! Make sure you practice the proper brushing technique and always floss at the end of the day too!
Your teeth have tons of little crevices and crannies where plaque can hide, and only regular, thorough brushing and flossing can take care of all the sneaky spots where it settles in to do its dirty work!
Grinding Your Teeth
You might not even realize you’re grinding your teeth, but if you are it’s important to get it treated! Teeth grinding, known as bruxism, is destructive to your teeth! It can destroy enamel and let decay run rampant, can wear your teeth down prematurely, and can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder! None of these results are something you want to deal with!
Luckily we can treat bruxism at our Millburn dentist office! We offer mouthguards that can cushion your bite and help relax your jaw muscles, even retraining them to help avoiding the grind!
What Can You Do?
It’s important not only to eliminate bad habits but also to develop good ones. In our next blog we’re going to talk about the importance of good habits and what you can do to protect your teeth from decay and destruction!
If you’re currently concerned about your oral health, then you should know that Millburn Dental Arts is here to help! Our staff is ready to treat you for any possible problems right away – you just need to call us at (973) 957-1604 or request an appointment using our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!