Tooth decay can make for complicated, expensive, and painful dental visits. Click through the slide show above to see what dentists do to stay out of the dental chair.
Use a fluoride toothpaste
New York City-based dentist Lana Rozenberg, DDS, recommends giving your toothpaste label a read to make sure it contains fluoride. 'Fluoride toothpaste protects from demineralization—which is when bacteria in the mouth combine with sugars to produce acid,' she says. 'This acid can erode tooth enamel and damage our teeth.’
Scott Asnis, DDS, the founder and CEO of Dental365, explains that keeping your pearly whites clean will ward off nasty bacteria. Dr. Asnis says studies have proven that electric toothbrushes clean teeth significantly better than regular ones. 'Most electric toothbrushes have features that prevent brushing too hard, which, in turn, prevents accidentally damaging teeth and gums and causing gum recession,' he notes. 'As gums recede, the roots of the teeth become exposed resulting in hot and cold sensitivity, bone loss, and an increased risk of dental caries.'
Do you fear going to the dentist? You're not alone. One study estimated that up to 15 percent of Americans hesitate to schedule checkups thanks to a dental phobia. If you fall into this category, bring it up with your dentist (or find a new one), recommends dentist Haissam Dahan, DMD, MSc, PhD: 'By going to your dentist regularly, they can find small or new cavities and offer treatments that can prevent cavities from getting bigger. These options can be a fluoride treatment, sealants to prevent cavities from growing, or using silver diamine fluoride which can stop cavities from growing.'
Your prescriptions can have some unexpected side effects, like harming your teeth, warns oral surgeon and author Ira Kamp, DDS. He recommends paying extra attention to your dental health when you get a new Rx. 'Most medications cause dry mouth, and a dry mouth makes you more prone to cavities,' he says. 'If you are taking medications that dry your mouth, practice thorough oral hygiene several times a day, including after you eat, drink plenty of water, and talk to your doctor about your medications.'
Do your belly and your mouth a favor by cutting back on the sweet treats. Dr. Rozenberg says low-sugar, healthy food helps ward away the plaque that wrecks the enamel on your teeth. 'Each time you eat a sugary snack, your teeth are under siege for the next 20 minutes,' she says.
Yes, it's a pain to wiggle floss between each of your teeth every day. Dr. Asnis has a saying: 'You only have to floss the teeth you want to keep.' Flossing prevents bone loss and cavities in the dark recesses of your molars that your toothbrush can't reach. If you're an adult and still can't figure out how to use floss, don't sweat it and take this advice instead: 'Take a longer piece than you think you need, wrap it around your pinkie and ring fingers to hold the floss while using your thumb and index fingers to better control the floss,' he recommends.
You already know that calcium helps strengthen your bones, but did you know it can help prevent tooth decay? (Teeth are actually stronger than bones, after all!) Dr. Rozenberg says this essential mineral is vital for your smile; make sure your diet has plenty of milk and yogurt, leafy greens like broccoli and bok choy, canned fish with bones, almonds, and Brazil nuts.
Before you hit the sack or head out the door for the day, take a swish of fluoride mouthwash to cleanse all the nooks and crannies that you can't get to on your own, recommends Dr. Asnis. Fluoride rinses help build up your enamel (that's especially helpful if you happen to have sensitive teeth). 'Research shows alcohol and alcohol-free mouthwashes are both very effective at removing plaque and the bacteria that produce it,' he explains.
Fiber is vital for digestion and your heart; it can also help fight tooth decay, says Dr. Rozenberg. You can get fiber from supplements, she says, but you can also shift your diet to include more high-fiber foods. 'Good sources include dried fruits such as dates, raisins, and figs, and fresh fruits, like bananas, apples, and oranges. Other options include veggies, such as beans, Brussels sprouts, and peas, along with peanuts, almonds, and bran,' she explains.
Call Cosmo to get dental insurance or to find a dentist in your network at 732-363-3888.
Cosmo Insurance Agency is an independent insurance agency serving surrounding communities in New Jersey. Cosmo keeps its promise to assure an efficient and creative approach to the services we offer. Each of our clients experience a personalized and long-term relationship with us. Our New Jersey based team of health brokers guides our clients in helping them choose the most cost-effective options. By incorporating the latest in technology-based tools and laws on healthcare, employee benefits, life insurance and finance, we keep our clients up-to-date with the plans that encompass all of their needs, whether it is individual or group insurance.
CONTACT COSMO NOW
GET A DENTAL INSURANCE QUOTE