Love to snack? Ever wonder what are the repercussions from unhealthy snacking? Aside from common health issues such as obesity and coronary heart disease, people often forget about the importance of their dental health. Frequent snacking can lead to the formation and progression of dental caries. Caries, more commonly known as cavities or tooth decay, are holes in teeth that start when the thin outermost protective layer, enamel, is eroded by acids produced by bacteria. When cavities are left untreated, it can lead to symptoms such as persistent food traps, bad breath, toothaches, and serious dental infections.
Here are some tips to prevent tooth decay:
1. Avoiding Certain Food and Drinks for Your Teeth
Food that have a higher tendency of sticking to your teeth for a long time are more likely to cause decay than food that are easily washed away by saliva. Some examples include starchy breads, chocolates, and sticky caramel toffees. Avoid such foods that can get stuck easily in the pits of your teeth. Sweetened sodas or even fruit juices can contain high levels of sugars that can lead to tooth decay.
2. Reduce Frequency of Snacking
Each time we snack, bacteria in our mouths start producing acids that can erode our teeth and cause tooth decay. Constant snacking and sipping of sugared sodas or juices throughout the day can lead to the production and build-up of acids around our teeth. This persistent acidic environment speeds up the formation and progression of cavities. Avoid frequent snacking and sipping of sugared liquids to prevent tooth decay.
3. Maintain Good Oral Hygiene Practices
Dental plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth throughout the day. Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day. Do not forget to use dental floss or interdental cleaning aids to clear the food and plaque between your teeth. Regular dental visits every six months are also recommended.
4. Use Fluoridated Toothpaste and Mouth Rinse
Fluoride helps with the prevention of tooth decay and can even reverse the early stages of tooth decay. Ensure that you are using fluoridated toothpaste daily. Children should use toothpaste with age-appropriate fluoride concentrations. Some types of mouth rinse also contain fluoride that can be used as a useful adjunct to daily brushing and flossing.
5. Watch out for Acid Reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition where stomach acid repeatedly flows back into the oesophagus. In severe cases of acid reflux, acids can even erode the enamel of your teeth. Consult a medical doctor if you have chronic acid reflux, as it can be a contributory cause of tooth decay.
Dental health is an important component to one’s overall health. Keep these tips in mind and remember to visit the dentist for regular checkups. Early detection of tooth decay during such regular dental visits can mean a simpler fix before the problem worsens. Should tooth decay remain undetected and untreated, it can cause severe toothaches and oral infections. You will then run the risk of requiring more complicated dental procedures or even losing your precious teeth.