Can You Reverse Tooth Decay?
Did you know that your dental enamel is the strongest material in your entire body? The outer layer of your tooth, the enamel, is designed to protect the inner portion of your teeth from decay and damage. Over time, though, the enamel can become weakened, and your tooth can become compromised. Caused by the millions of bacteria in your mouth, tooth decay (also known as “cavities” or “dental caries”) is extremely common and can have lasting negative effects on your teeth. We here at Long Island Smile strongly recommend a good oral hygiene regimen to help not only prevent but also to reverse, tooth decay.
What Causes Tooth Decay and What Can I Do About It?
Your mouth is teeming with bacteria, and while a small amount of those germs can be benign, the vast majority are quite harmful and want nothing more than to cause infections and decay in your mouth. When you eat sugary foods, these bacteria are allowed to grow and reproduce. They can form a layer of filmy scum that can attach to your teeth, and this sticky residue is known as plaque. If the plaque is allowed to remain on your teeth, the toxins and acids that are released by the bacteria can start to eat through your dental enamel, giving you tooth decay.
Preventing tooth decay is as straightforward as introducing a good oral hygiene regimen. Taking care to brush your teeth twice a day, for two minutes each time, is a good start. Make sure you brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste. After you brush your teeth, reach for an 18-inch length of dental floss and floss your teeth by holding your floss in a C-shape, working a clean segment of floss between each tooth and up under your gums. Finish up with antibacterial mouthwash for added protection and to kill remaining germs.
If caught early, you can reverse your tooth decay before it becomes a bigger problem. However, if it is allowed to progress, you may require intervention at our office, such as a filling. To reverse your tooth decay, take a hard look at your diet and your lifestyle. If you are not currently brushing and flossing and using fluoridated toothpaste, start immediately. Fluoride can help remineralize your teeth.
A healthy diet can also work wonders for stopping and reversing your tooth decay. A diet rich in calcium, for instance, can help rebuild any areas of minor decay. You can find calcium in yogurt, milk, cheese, and even fortified foods like soy. Vitamin K and Vitamin D are also great for your teeth, and you can find Vitamin K in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli. Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish like salmon as well as fortified cereals and egg yolks. Drink plenty of water to help rinse off acid and bacteria between meals and chew sugarless gum to help prevent dental caries.
If you believe that you may be suffering from tooth decay, please give us here at Long Island Smile a call at (516) 243-7473 today to learn more about this extremely common condition and to schedule an appointment to help treat and reverse your own tooth decay.