How to stop tooth decay from spreading to other teeth
Tooth decay is a common dental problem that affects millions of people all around the world. It occurs when bacteria in your mouth break down the sugars and starches in your food and produce acids that erode your tooth enamel, the hard outer layer of your teeth.
If left untreated, tooth decay can cause cavities, pain, infection, and tooth loss. But don’t worry, there are ways to prevent and treat tooth decay and stop it from spreading to other teeth. Here are some tips and tricks to help you keep your smile healthy and beautiful.
What causes tooth decay to spread?
Tooth decay can spread from one tooth to another in several ways. Some of the main factors that contribute to the spread of tooth decay are:
Poor oral hygiene: If you don’t brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss daily, and rinse with a fluoride mouthwash, you are allowing plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, to build up mainly on your teeth and gums. Plaque can harbor harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Plaque can also harden into tartar, a yellowish substance that can only be removed by a dentist. Tartar can create gaps between your teeth and gums, where bacteria can hide and cause more damage.
Eating and drinking sugary or acidic foods and beverages: When you consume foods and drinks that are high in sugar or acid, such as candy, soda, juice, or coffee, you are feeding the bacteria in your mouth and increasing the production of acids that attack your tooth enamel. The more often you eat or drink these items, the more exposure your teeth have to these harmful substances. This can weaken your enamel and make it more susceptible to decay.
Sharing utensils or oral devices: If you share spoons, forks, knives, cups, straws, toothbrushes, or dental appliances, such as braces or retainers, with someone who has tooth decay, you are risking transferring the bacteria that cause tooth decay from their mouth to yours. This can increase your chances of developing tooth decay or spreading it to other teeth.
Having cracks or chips in your teeth: If you have cracks or chips in your teeth, you are creating openings for bacteria to enter and infect your teeth. Cracks or chips can also expose the inner layers of your teeth, such as the dentin and the pulp, which are more sensitive and vulnerable to decay than the enamel. Cracks or chips can also make it harder to clean your teeth properly and remove plaque and food debris.
How to stop tooth decay from spreading
The best way to stop tooth decay from spreading to other teeth is to prevent it from happening in the first place. However, if you already have tooth decay, there are still steps you can take to stop it from getting worse and affecting other teeth. Here are some of the most effective ways to stop tooth decay from spreading:
Visit your dentist regularly: The most important thing you can do to stop tooth decay from spreading is to see your dentist at least twice a year for a checkup and a cleaning. Your dentist can examine your teeth and detect any signs of tooth decay or other dental problems. Your dentist can also remove any plaque or tartar that you can’t remove with your regular brushing and flossing. Your dentist can also treat any existing tooth decay with fillings, crowns, root canals, or extractions, depending on the severity of the decay and the condition of your tooth. Your dentist can also advise you on the best oral hygiene practices and products for your specific needs.
Brush your teeth properly: Brushing your teeth is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent and stop tooth decay from spreading. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day, preferably after every meal, with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is a mineral that can strengthen your enamel and protect it from decay. You should brush your teeth for at least two minutes, covering all the surfaces of your teeth and gently brushing your gums and tongue. You should also replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed or worn out.
Floss your teeth daily: Flossing your teeth is another essential step to prevent and stop tooth decay from spreading. You should floss your teeth at least once a day, preferably before bedtime, with a dental floss or an interdental cleaner. Flossing can help you remove any plaque or food particles that are stuck between your teeth and under your gums, where your toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing can also prevent gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss and other health problems. You should floss your teeth gently and carefully, following the curves of your teeth and avoiding snapping the floss against your gums.
Rinse your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash: Rinsing your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash can also help you prevent and stop tooth decay from spreading. You should rinse your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash at least once a day, preferably after brushing and flossing your teeth. A fluoride mouthwash can help you rinse away any remaining plaque or bacteria from your mouth and provide an extra layer of protection for your enamel. You should rinse your mouth for at least 30 seconds, swishing the mouthwash around your teeth and gums, and then spit it out. You should not eat or drink anything for at least 30 minutes after using a fluoride mouthwash, to allow the fluoride to work on your teeth.
Limit your intake of sugary or acidic foods and beverages: As mentioned earlier, eating and drinking sugary or acidic foods and beverages can contribute to the development and spread of tooth decay. Therefore, you should limit your intake of these items, or avoid them altogether, if you want to stop tooth decay from spreading. If you do consume these items, you should do so in moderation, and preferably with a meal, to reduce the exposure of your teeth to the sugars and acids. You should also rinse your mouth with water or a fluoride mouthwash after eating or drinking these items, to neutralize the acids and wash away the sugars from your teeth.
Drink plenty of water: Drinking water is not only good for your overall health but also for your oral health. Water can help you stay hydrated and prevent dry mouth, a condition that can increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Water can also help you flush out any plaque or bacteria from your mouth and keep your saliva flowing. Saliva is your natural defense against tooth decay, as it can neutralize acids, wash away food debris, and remineralize your enamel. You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day, and more if you exercise, sweat, or live in a hot or dry climate.
Tooth decay is a serious dental problem that can affect your oral and overall health. However, you can prevent and stop tooth decay from spreading to other teeth by following the tips and tricks we have shared with you in this blog. By visiting your dentist regularly, brushing, flossing, and rinsing your teeth properly, limiting your intake of sugary or acidic foods and beverages, and drinking plenty of water, you can keep your teeth healthy and strong.
If you are looking for a dental consultation, you can visit Oris Dental Center in Dubai. Remember, your smile is one of your most valuable assets, so take good care of it.