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Best Ways To Prevent Tooth Decay

1. Preventive measures to any oral health problem begin with good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Use toothpaste that contains fluoride. Floss once or twice a day preferably after dinner. Flossing removes plaque from areas that the toothbrush can’t reach i.e. between your teeth and under the gum line.

2. Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water. Every day, minerals are added to and lost from a tooth's enamel layer through two processes, demineralization and remineralization. Minerals are lost (demineralization) from a tooth's enamel layer when acids -- formed from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth -- attack the enamel. Minerals such as fluoride, calcium, and phosphate are redeposited (remineralization) to the enamel layer from the foods and waters consumed. Too much demineralization without enough remineralization to repair the enamel layer leads to tooth decay.

Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth. It also reverses early decay. In children under 6 years of age, fluoride becomes incorporated into the development of permanent teeth, making it difficult for acids to demineralize the teeth. Fluoride also helps speed remineralization as well as disrupts acid production in already erupted teeth of both children and adults.

3. Chewing sugar-free gum has long been recommended to avoid cavities. And sugar-free gum made with xylitol, a natural sugar substitute, seems to be even more of a winner. Xylitol helps prevent cavities because bacteria that cause tooth decay cannot utilize it to grow and cannot metabolize it to produce acid. Xylitol is most effective in gum or mint form and should be consumed three to five times daily for a total of 5 grams per day. It is important that it is the first listed ingredient to ensure the amount is sufficient.

4. Wine, at least the red variety, is generally not considered great for teeth because of the stains it can leave behind. But one study suggests that many of the individual chemical components in both red and white wine can actively fight the bacteria that lead to tooth decay and cavities.

5. Long perceived as a cause of cavities, it turns out raisins are similar to wine. Scientists have found that some of the chemicals present in raisins, including polyphenols and flavonoids, may actively fight oral bacteria that lead to cavities. BUT, because raisins are so high in sugar, and tend to stick to your teeth, please brush and floss after your snack!

6. To prevent tooth decay, many dentists recommend dental sealants, a protective coating applied to the surface of the back teeth. Dental sealants are an excellent way to prevent cavities. One of the most susceptible surfaces of a tooth to decay is the biting surface, where grooves, pits and fissures exist. It is very difficult to thoroughly clean plaque and bacteria, especially when the grooves are deeper. By sealing this part of the tooth with a flowable resin material, it prevents bacteria from being able to access, grow, and cause tooth decay.