5 simple tips for dental caries prevention


Last Modified: May 20, 2024


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Are you someone who gets overwhelmed and scared everytime you hear the sound of a dental drill or the cry of a patient in pain waiting for his tooth to be extracted? Dental caries or tooth decay or dental cavity, whatever name you may give to the devil, it is the second most common infectious disease, after common cold. And if left untreated you might end up in unpleasant circumstances.

These facts aren’t here to scare you but to help you understand and overcome the perils of dental decay.

Welcome to our dental health blog, where we, the experts at Clove Dental, spill the tea and offer you 5 simple tips that do not make you feel overwhelmed or confused about oral health but rather leave you with a cavity-free smile. Say goodbye to gatekeeping and hello to a brighter, healthier, and happier smile!

What is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is the destruction of tooth structure, which affects both the outer and inner layers of the tooth, i.e., enamel and dentin, respectively. Bacterias living in the mouth thrive on foods rich in carbohydrates, i.e., sugar and starches, such as bread, cereals, soda, fruits, cakes, or candy, which remain on the teeth, turning them into acid. When combined with bacteria, food debris, and saliva, this acid leads to plaque formation, which adheres to the teeth. The acid in plaque further dissolves the teeth’ enamel surface, creating holes called cavities.

Risk Factors

Where there is a tooth, there is a potential for decay as the surfaces risk the accumulation of bacteria, but the following factors lead to aggravated risk:

  • Location of the tooth – In most cases, decay is most commonly seen in the back teeth, namely the molars and premolars. These teeth have a complicated anatomy, full of pits, fissures, and grooves, along with multiple roots. The location, being more challenging to reach than the front tooth, makes cleaning difficult, leading to increased food accumulation.
  • Type of foods and drinks – Sticky food, such as honey, sugar, chocolates, ice cream, cake, cookies, hard candy, mints, chips or soda is more likely to cause decay than food that can be easily washed away by saliva.
  • Increased snacking or sipping – This fuels mouth bacteria to produce larger amounts of acids that attack and wear down teeth.
  • Poor oral hygiene maintenance – Not rinsing or brushing teeth post meal and drinks can lead to plaque formation and start to show first signs of decay and gingivitis.
  • Not reading your toothpaste label – Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral which helps in prevention of cavities, so next time when buying a new toothpaste tube make sure it has fluoride in its composition.
  • Malaligned or crowded teeth – In cases of crowding, there is a much increased instance of food accumulation leading to plaque formation, as the teeth alignment makes it difficult for the toothbrush to reach thus reducing the overall cleaning of all surfaces, floss is highly recommended in such cases along with alignment correction using braces.
  • Associated with conditions such as Dry Mouth(reduced salivary production), GERD(Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) or even with eating disorders(such as anorexia and bulimia)
  • For bottle feeding babies – In babies when bottles with formula, juice, liquid containing sugar or milk are given during bedtime it ends up remaining on their teeth for hours as they sleep, which in turn feeds the bacteria causing decay. Also seen in cases of toddlers with sippy cups.

Is There a Scope of Prevention?

Even with all the risk factors complicating oral health, there is nothing that good oral and dental hygiene cannot fix. We promised you a gateway into our secrets and here we are letting you in.

5 simple things you can do to preserve your smile

1. Knowing your cavity risk level

The first and most important step into taking control of your oral health is assessing your cavity risk level. And the best way to accomplish this is through a comprehensive dental examination. We recommend a 6 monthly dental visit to ensure that the risk factors are kept to a minimum and preventive measures are undertaken to limit the damage.

Once the risk levels have been established, then a more specific and effective approach can be undertaken to improve your oral health.

2. Understanding the right way to brush

This might be the most predicted tip of the blog, but the factor that matters more than the number of times we brush is the technique being used for brushing.

So the next time you are visiting us make a mental note to enquire about the correct method of brushing appropriate for you, as it varies for kids, adults, people with braces and for the ones with periodontal diseases and we believe learning is better with the Tell-Show-Do method.

3. Sipping more on water

We understand your caffeine cravings mid-work or the temptation to get that perfect cup of chai in the evening. Might I also add some extra sugar just for the kicks? But then, prolonged exposure to acidic coffee or tea, compounded by added sugar or even milk, increases the risk of cavities.

So try and keep the cup number to a minimum with sipping time too 20 minutes or less, even better if you’re able to replace it with water, your body will be thanking you for the choice in the long run. Also make it a conscious habit to rinse post any sugary drink consumption.

4. Make flossing your best friend

We assure you it gets better with time, the hardest part is just to start. Our teeth consist of 5 different surfaces, all of which require regular cleaning. Brushing only is able to get to 3 of those surfaces, floss being a good partner shares the load and reaches the other two. And the best part is it just requires a minute and can be a multitasking activity, once you get the hang of it you can even do it while watching your favorite tv show.

5. Quit smoking

It is a well-known fact that smoking and tobacco use can lead to many different health issues, but what many people don’t realize is that smoke and tobacco pose a significant threat to the mouth, gums, and teeth as well. It leads to gum diseases, tooth loss and even oral cancer in some cases.

Some additional things you can do to level up your oral health game:

  • Use a fluoride-containing mouthwash daily; they also contain antiseptic ingredients to help kill plaque-causing bacteria.
  • Eat nutritious and balanced meals and limit snacking. Avoid carbohydrates, and if you consume sticky food, make sure to brush your teeth soon afterward.
  • For bottle-feeding kids or infants, start brushing as soon as their first teeth appear in the oral cavity. For those before that age, make sure to wipe off the gum pads with a wet, soft cloth after feeding.
  • In case of reduced salivary production, enquire about gums or candies that help in increasing saliva production.

Cavities and tooth decay are so common that they generally go unnoticed and ignored by an individual because they fail to understand the consequences of ignorance; if left unattended, they lead to such severe pain that it becomes difficult to even go on by the day and many sleepless nights. With cutting-edge advanced technology available at 500+ Clove Dental clinics across India, it has become possible to detect caries at the earliest stage and provide preventive and conservative treatments. It’s never too late to care!

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