Pediatric Dental Specialists of Atlanta

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Tooth Decay Prevention

Often regarded as the second most common human ailment, trailing only behind the common cold, tooth decay poses a significant health challenge. Historically, without effective treatment, this condition led to discomfort, tooth loss, and in some cases, more severe complications. Nowadays, it’s believed to afflict almost the entire adult population worldwide. Nevertheless, by taking proactive steps in partnership with our dental office, it’s possible to prevent tooth decay from damaging your teeth or those of your family members.

Tooth Decay

Key to understand from the outset is that there is no single “cure-all” solution to halt tooth decay universally. Preventing decay involves a strategy of regular maintenance, similar to caring for an automobile, with the major difference being that your natural teeth have the potential to last your entire life with proper attention. Essential elements of this strategy include maintaining good oral hygiene practices at home and making regular visits to our office for cleanings and examinations.

If you’re already attending routine dental appointments, you’re likely familiar with the specialized tools we utilize to remove plaque (a bacterial film) and tartar (also known as calculus) from your teeth, employing either hand instruments, ultrasonic scalers, or a combination of both for a comprehensive clean. Following this, we conduct a thorough examination for decay and address cavities as needed.

Beyond these measures, we can further support your efforts to prevent tooth decay. We might explore whether your diet plays a role, assess your brushing technique, and discuss additional preventive treatments tailored to your needs. Our current understanding of tooth decay’s causes and treatments enables a more focused approach to prevention based on individual risk factors and needs.

How Decay Starts and Prevention Strategies

The mouth is a dynamic ecosystem where beneficial and harmful bacteria constantly interact. In certain conditions, particularly in the presence of sugars, harmful bacteria produce acids that lead to mineral loss and breakdown of teeth. Acidic diets can exacerbate this demineralization. However, under more favorable conditions, the body’s natural repair mechanisms, including the actions of healthy saliva, can reverse this damage.

Our objective in decay prevention is to shift the balance towards these beneficial processes. Regular brushing and flossing, adequate fluoride intake, and a diet low in acidic foods play a crucial role. Yet, some individuals may be more susceptible to decay and require additional support and guidance.

Preventing Tooth Decay

For those at greater risk, we offer demonstrations on effective brushing techniques and suggest at-home practices like using specialized toothpastes or rinses. In-office treatments, such as fluoride applications, may be recommended if you’re not receiving sufficient fluoride from water or other sources. This treatment is effective in decay prevention. Anti-bacterial treatments and nutritional counseling might also be beneficial in specific cases.

For children prone to decay, dental sealants offer a preventive solution. This nearly invisible plastic resin coating is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, filling in crevices and making the teeth more resistant to bacterial damage.

Tooth decay doesn’t have to be inevitable. By consulting with us, you can learn more about the steps we can take together to protect you and your loved ones from this widespread disease.