Five Ways to Prevent Oral Disease

No one wants to go to the dentist and hear bad news, but did you know that there are steps you can take to prevent hearing a long checklist of dental problems?

phoenix_costmetic_dentistThe easiest preventative is making sure you are using Fluoride. Fluoride is important because it helps reduce acid that attacks tooth enamel and prevents plaque forming around the teeth.

Fortunately, 39 countries around the world have Fluoride in the water, and Fluoride helps prevent cavities before they start. The city of Phoenix maintains a Fluoride level recommended by the Center for Disease Control, according to a report released earlier this year.

“Mouthwash and toothpaste also contain Fluoride, so brushing your teeth is a simple way to prevent oral disease,” says Dr. Carol Ford, from her Phoenix dental office. “Using the correct brushing technique with your Fluoride toothpaste is the secret to clean teeth, “ says Dr. Ford, “it’s not the amount of toothpaste. A small amount goes a long way.”

Children should use no more than a pea-size squeeze of toothpaste, according to the National Bridge Inventory, because children need less Fluoride than adults. Shop for a children’s toothpaste, because it has less Fluoride than your adult tube.

Any top dentist will also recommend regular dental visits. “It’s much easier to solve a small problem then manage a large one,” says Dr. Ford, “We make sure that routine care is also preventive care,” Dr. Ford adds. Many dental problems don’t hurt until they become serious, so regular cleaning visits are important.

Everyone has fissures—grooves—in their teeth, but some people have deep, narrow grooves. Toothbrushes can’t get into those fissures easily, so plaque forms quickly and doesn’t get removed. “Even people who brush regularly can get cavities in that case,” says Dr. Ford. Sealants, which fill the grooves and don’t harm the tooth, are a good solution. Your dentist can determine if sealing is the right action to protect your teeth.

Smokers, diabetics, pregnant women, people with bridges and braces, and those with compromised immune systems, such as transplant patients, are at higher risk for oral disease.  If you fall into one of those groups, you should see your dentist more often than twice a year. Every quarter is a better idea.

If you are going to chew gum, chew gum with Xylitol. Top dentists at the website Carifree recommend Xylitol-containing gum because this naturally-occurring sugar can’t be broken down into plaque. “Xylitol also prevents bacteria from sticking to teeth, so you reduce the amount of plaque buildup as well,” says Dr. Ford.

To review, here are the top five ways to prevent gum disease, according to top dentists in their field:

  1. Use fluoride. Whether it’s fluoride-added water, toothpaste, or mouthwash, it’s the easiest way to prevent plaque formation and cavities.
  2. Brush and floss thoroughly and regularly, making sure to get the back teeth as well as the front.
  3. If you have deep grooves in your teeth, have them sealed.
  4. See your dentist regularly for a cleaning and preventive work.
  5. If you chew gum, use brands containing Xylitol.



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