How to Maintain Healthy Teeth Pt 2

In the first part of our two part series, Shreveport dentist, Dr. Chris Mott shares the first 5 tips on maintaining a healthy mouth. Dr. Mott picks up where he left off and shares the final 5 tips below:

Use Fluoride

Fluoride strengthens enamel to reduce the chances of tooth decay. If your water is not fluoridated, your dental professional may suggest applying a fluoride application to your teeth. While many toothbrushes and mouth rinses contain fluoride, they should be used sparingly (about a pea-sized dab) in young children. Too much fluoride causes unwanted white spots on the teeth, but just enough will prevent tooth decay.

Stop Smoking and Using Tobacco

Tobacco not only stains teeth, but also increases the chances of gum disease and oral cancer. So it’s better you quit smoking or chewing tobacco and teach your kids not to start.

Protect Your Teeth

While sports and recreational activities are healthy, they can be a threat to your teeth. Schools might require children to wear mouth guards while playing contact sports to protect teeth from rough playing. This will be in your favor to prevent any damage to you or your child’s teeth. 

As unsupervised recreational activities like skateboarding and rollerblading can also lead to injuries, have your dentist customize a mouthguard for you or your child. You can also buy mouth guards at sports stores. Most will soften with hot water to mold to your individual mouth shape.

Say No to Sugary Foods

Mouth bacteria breaks down simple sugars into acids which will erode tooth enamel and start the process of tooth decay. It’s important to avoid sweets, chocolates, and sugary drinks, such as soft drinks and fruit drinks. Sipping on these drinks over a long period of time raises will raise the body’s acid levels. Additionally, carbonated drinks will worsen matters as carbonation increases decaying activity. Snacks such as sticky candies will also linger on teeth surfaces for long periods of time.

Make an Appointment

Dr. Mott recommends to have a dental check at least twice a year, and preferably more if you have problems with gum disease or other mouth problems. During these dental checks your dentist will remove built-up plaque you are unable reach while also looking for signs of decay. Moreover, a regular dental exam helps identify:

  1. The early signs of gum disease. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the elderly. However, by the time the average person notices the signs, it’s almost always too late to reverse things. This is why a periodical dental check is important to find out if your gums show signs of trouble.
  2. Dangerous medication interactions. Older patients, especially if they take various medications, risk a dry mouth or xerostomia. Xerostomia is the reduction of saliva flow. This process increases the risks of tooth decay and gum disease. About 800 drugs can cause dry mouth, so you should make sure to inform your dentist about any medications you take. Changes in prescription and saliva-like oral mouthwashes can help alleviate the problem.
  3. The early signs of oral cancer. 9 out of 10 oral cancer cases can be treated if detected early on. However if undetected, the cancer spreads throughout the body and is difficult to treat.

Worn out teeth due to tooth grinding. Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is triggered by anxiety or stress. Over time grinding wears down the teeth’s chewing surfaces, making them vulnerable to decay. If you have signs of bruxism, your dentist can recommend wearing a mouthguard at night to stop grinding.

Typically, good oral hygiene can prevent tooth decay and most gum diseases. All it takes is a few minutes a day of brushing and flossing your teeth and regular checkups from your local Shreveport dentist, for a lifetime of having a happy and healthy mouth!