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Signs of Tooth Decay and How to Prevent It

March 17, 2022
Posted By: Family Dentistry of Royal Oak
getting ready for dental checkup

Tooth decay is one of the most common dental health problems around, but the good news is it’s preventable. There are steps you and your Royal Oak, MI dentist can take to make tooth decay a thing of the past.

If you have tooth decay, it means a section of your tooth has deteriorated, and that section is no longer viable. However, your dentist can remove the decay and treat the area with a tooth-colored filling or a tooth crown to preserve function and stability.

Of course, no tooth decay is best! So let’s look at signs of tooth decay and how you can prevent it.

Signs of Tooth Decay

Small or emerging cavities, especially those between teeth, may not have symptoms. And when symptoms do show up, it typically means advanced tooth decay. As a rule, advanced tooth decay is harder to treat compared with an emerging cavity. Additionally, a large cavity can compromise your tooth. In severe cases, the decayed tooth may not be salvageable.

Signs of tooth decay may include:

  • A spot on the tooth
  • Tooth sensitivity or pain
  • Brittle or crumbling tooth

Because tooth decay does not always present with symptoms, it’s essential to visit your dentist regularly for checkups and teeth cleanings in Royal Oak, MI.

Preventing Tooth Decay Through Oral Hygiene and Healthy Habits

Preventing tooth decay is a collaborative effort between you and your dentist. For your part, you should brush your teeth at least twice each day, spending time clearing away plaque and bacteria. To do this effectively, it’s important to brush thoroughly and on all surfaces, including the back of teeth and the gums.

We recommend a soft-bristled toothbrush and a gentle touch when cleaning your teeth. When flossing, use a clean section of floss as you move from tooth to tooth. Otherwise, you’re only transferring debris and bacteria.

Of course, twice-daily oral hygiene sessions are the minimum. If you clean your teeth after each meal, all the better.

For brushing and flossing tips specific to your oral health profile, talk to our hygienist next time you come in for a checkup and teeth cleaning.

Besides excellent oral hygiene, there are lifestyle and dietary choices you can make to lower your cavity risks, including:

  • Staying hydrated—Drink lots of water and avoid substances that dry the mouth, like tobacco and strong, alcohol-based rinses.
  • Avoiding sticky and sugary foods—Eliminate hard candy, starchy foods, and sugary snacks.
  • Avoiding certain drinks—Carbonated drinks and fruit juices can lead to tooth decay.

Foods and drinks to enjoy freely include:

  • Vegetables
  • Dairy (low fat/low sugar)
  • Strawberries
  • Water

How Your Royal Oak, MI Dentist Can Help

Even the best oral hygiene routine and healthiest diet are not enough to prevent cavities and gum disease.

To complement your good habits, you should also visit the dentist every six months for comprehensive checkups and teeth cleanings.

At your checkup, your dentist examines your teeth and gums to make sure your teeth are free from decay and that you don’t have other oral health concerns like gingivitis. Your teeth cleaning is a reset for your teeth. During this portion of your visit, our hygienist removes any remaining plaque and tartar from the teeth and gums; it is plaque and tartar that lead to tooth decay.

 If you present with cavities often, your dentist may recommend a dental sealant to lock debris away from teeth.

Is It Time for Your Dental Checkup and Teeth Cleaning in Royal Oak, MI?

Untreated cavities can lead to tooth loss and painful oral infections of the tooth canal. To avoid these complications and lower your risks, reach out to a member of our team today to schedule your next visit.

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