It pays to practice preventive care
Stay away from sugar. In addition to brushing and flossing daily, everyone should watch their diet. Stay away from sticky foods made with sucrose (table sugar), which continually contributes to the decay of teeth. Chewing gum made with the natural sweetener xylitol, in contrast, may actually help reduce the risk of cavities.
Don't suck on acidic foods. Bad habits can contribute to poor oral health. Sucking on foods high in citric acid for prolonged periods of time can wear away the enamel on your teeth, so stay away from prolonged exposure to these foods. Limit soda consumption as much as possible. While sugar-free soft drinks are a better choice, they still have a high acid content.
Your teeth aren't tools. Avoid subjecting your teeth to any tasks that they weren't designed to do, like tearing open difficult packages or chewing ice, pencils or any other non-food items.
Kick the tobacco habit. Finally, stay away from chewing tobacco and cigarettes—or if you already use them, quit. These products increase the risk of cavities, discolor teeth and are a leading cause of oral cancer.
Mind your Children's Oral Health
Care for baby teeth. Teaching children proper oral health early can help you save money in the long run as well. It is a common misconception that baby teeth do not require preventive care, as these are replaced within a few years. The truth is that neglecting baby teeth can cause premature tooth loss or infections, and can affect the development or alignment of the child's permanent teeth. If baby teeth are in poor shape and fall out early, space maintenance could become an issue as permanent teeth emerge.
Stop the thumb sucking. Thumb sucking past the eruption of the first couple of teeth can lead to serious alignment issues for young children. It can cause teeth to become crooked and create problems that will need correction. Parents who invest in interceptive orthodontics can save money on more extensive orthodontia later.
Flouridate. Children should drink fluoridated water regularly. You can check with your state or municipality to find out if the tap water in your area is fluoridated. If not, you can get a prescription for fluoride tablets from your dentist or pediatrician. Topical fluoride treatments, provided by your dentist, are crucial for a child's cavity prevention.
Regularly visit your Dentist
It is important to note that a dentist appointment should be sought before the first sign of any serious problem. Lack of prevention or putting off corrective visits will only compound dental issues and make them more difficult—and costly—to fix.
If your dentist advises, have sealants put on teeth that may be decay-prone, such as teeth that have weaker enamel or deep pits and crevices. The eventual benefits of sealants will outweigh the expense. In some cases, a one-surface sealant can cost only half or even a quarter as much as a filling. As a rule, the more surgical or restorative interventions (fillings, crowns, etc.) a patient undergoes, the greater the likelihood that these will require additional maintenance later. It is best to address oral care issues early and avoid more costly fixes later.
Good Choices Mean More Savings
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