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Tooth decay is a common oral health concern. It occurs when the structure of the tooth starts to break down, compromising the enamel and dentin layers of the tooth.

Unfortunately, tooth decay can lead to complications ranging in severity from pain and swelling to infection and potentially tooth loss. Given these risks, it’s wise for everyone to prevent and reduce tooth decay with proper oral hygiene. Here, we’ll cover the main practices that you can implement into your routine to avoid tooth decay and maintain optimal oral health.

How To Prevent Tooth Decay

Our top tips for preventing tooth decay include: 

  • Practice good brushing and flossing habits
  • Eat a balanced diet that’s low in added sugars
  • Cut down on simple carbohydrates that can stay on the surface of the teeth, such as candy, chips, and pretzels
  • Limit snacking, which can cause your teeth to be frequently in contact with sugars and increase the risk of bacteria
  • Avoid sugary drinks, like soda
  • Avoid sticky foods and brush your teeth afterward, if you do eat them
  • Visit your dentist for regular exams and cleanings

Treatment for Tooth Decay

Tooth decay can be treated more effectively when it’s caught early. Depending on the severity of the tooth decay, your dentist may recommend one of the following treatment options:

Fluoride treatment

For a cavity in the early stages, fluoride can aid in the restoration of the tooth’s enamel. 

Root canal 

Tooth decay in the root canal and dental pulp can lead to pain and throbbing. In root canal treatment, the infected dental pulp is removed. Then, the root canal system is cleaned, and the tooth is filled with a strong material called gutta-percha. The tooth is then sealed with a filling or crown. 

Fillings

When decay only affects the surface of the teeth, we can repair the damage with tooth-colored fillings. These fillings blend in with your natural teeth and are applied after the decay has been removed. 

Tooth extraction

Tooth extraction may be recommended if a tooth has been killed by decay. The decayed tooth will be extracted and replaced with a dental implant, bridge, or dentures. 

Our dentist, Dr. Shuichi Yamaguchi, can help you prevent tooth decay and offer treatment methods to restore tooth decay, if needed. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.