The decay process weakens tooth enamel, leading to caries (cavities) and the destruction of other tooth structures. Everyone is susceptible to tooth decay, but some people are at higher risk for frequent and/or rapidly progressing decay. Each time you have an appointment at our office, we will assess your risk factors and give you personalized recommendations to minimize your risk for tooth decay and its damaging effects.
Tips for cavity prevention
- Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
- Brush and floss properly each day.
- Beware of sugary and acidic drinks.
- Avoid sticky foods.
- Rinse your mouth with water or chew sugar-free gum if you cannot brush after a meal.
Fluoride incorporates into tooth structure to make it stronger. A majority of people already get fluoride from their city water supply. Other sources of fluoride include certain foods, toothpastes, and mouth rinses. Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, can reduce tooth decay as much as 40%. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under six years of age.
If you are at high risk for decay, we will likely recommend supplemental fluoride and a fluoride varnish treatment. Fluoride varnishes are applied in our office and deliver a high concentration of fluoride directly to the teeth. This offers protection for several months.
Risk factors for tooth decay
- Diet high in sugar, carbs or acid
- Poor oral hygiene
- Gum recession or exposed root surfaces
- Dry mouth due to medication, autoimmune disorders or advanced age
- Active radiation or chemotherapy
- Active orthodontic treatment