Can You Prevent Tooth Decay?

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Can You Prevent Tooth Decay?
You may fear cavities but feel powerless about your ability to prevent decay. You know what? You have much more control over halting decay than you may think! Learn about how decay develops, and what you can do to stop it.

We know, we know. You may get tired of reminders from your dentist to take great care of your mouth and wonder, does it all really make a difference in preventing decay and cavities?

The answer is an emphatic “Yes!” In addition to making your smile healthy and beautiful, your dentist’s top priority is teaming with you to support your overall mouth health. He’s also invested in educating you about your important role in keeping your teeth in tip-top shape.

Dr. Jerred Donald puts patients first at CIsco Dental in Cisco, Texas. He and his compassionate team make sure that you receive the best in patient-centered care, whether you’re coming in for a routine cleaning, a cosmetic dentistry treatment, or a more complex procedure, like dental implants. He adopts only the most advanced treatments and is always ready to listen to your questions and concerns. 

How does tooth decay happen?

Decay happens quietly at first, but builds upon itself quickly. When you combine eating foods that contain starch and sugars with lackluster teeth cleaning, you’ve got a recipe for plaque development. Plaque is a sticky film that accumulates on the surface of your teeth.

The more you overlook cleaning your teeth appropriately, the more bacteria develop and contribute to plaque formation. Plaque can harden, and when it hardens either above or below your gumline, it becomes tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional. 

Plaque is acidic, and these acids actually remove minerals in your tooth enamel. As this erosion continues, minute holes in your enamel form. These are the precursors to cavities. With your enamel gone in certain spots, bacteria and acid attack the next, softer dentin layer of your tooth. This is when you may start to feel sensitivity. 

The final destination for the bacteria and acid is your pulp, the innermost part of your teeth, with the blood vessels and nerves in it. Your pulp swells and becomes irritated. The swelling causes compression of the nerve, leading to pain. 

Is it possible to halt tooth decay?

It sure is, and, as we noted before, you and Dr. Donald are a team when it comes to keeping your smile fabulous and cavity-free. 

The root of decay starts with your own daily dental hygiene habits. The most important thing you can do to stave off decay is brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, then floss. In the grand scheme of things, this takes just a few minutes each morning and evening, but it’s beyond worth it when you consider the pain, time, and money it can save you down the line. 

Aside from maintaining your daily dental care routine, you can take these other steps to keep decay at bay.

1. Avoid too much snacking between meals

When you graze too much during the day, your teeth are repeatedly exposed to plaque-forming starches and sugars. 

2. Mind your diet

Concentrate on a balanced, nutritious diet. Too many carb-heavy foods and sugary snacks and drinks bathe your teeth in the worst stuff.

3. Consider using fluoride supplements

Talk to Dr. Donald about how extra fluoride treatment can help discourage decay. Dental sealants are protective, thin, plastic coatings that are painted on the parts of your back teeth that do your chewing, giving them extra protection. Decay frequently begins in these spots. 

4. Keep up with how worn your dental work or dentures are

Fillings don’t last forever. Over time, they can deteriorate, and plaque can start to accumulate. The same goes for dental devices that don’t fit well anymore, like dentures

5. Do you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?

If you have either heartburn or GERD, stomach acid can enter your mouth, which wears away your protective enamel, putting you at risk for decay. Dr. Donald will speak with you about addressing the condition to save your teeth.

6. Don’t skip your dental checkups

Regular dental exams and professional cleanings are critical for preventing decay.

We’re committed to helping you avoid decay in every way we can, but if you do find yourself with a toothache and need a filling, Dr. Donald can remedy your situation quickly and painlessly, using the most sophisticated materials. 

If decay has progressed to a more serious stage, you may need a restorative treatment, such as a dental implant or crown, or treatment for gum disease. We’re here for you in that case, as well. 

Call Cisco Dental at 254-442-2000 to schedule an appointment with us, or use our convenient online booking tool