New York Total Dental | Teeth Whitening, Dental Cleanings and Oral Exams

Maintaining a Healthy Smile: Understanding and Preventing Dental Decay

April 30, 2024

A healthy smile is one of the first things people notice about you, so it's important to take good care of your teeth. However, did you know that dental decay affects nearly 100% of adults worldwide? Fortunately, with proper oral hygiene and regular checkups at our office, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing cavities.

What is Dental Decay?

Dental decay, also known as dental caries, occurs when harmful bacteria in your mouth produce acids that erode tooth enamel. This process begins with the formation of plaque – a sticky film that accumulates on the surfaces of your teeth. Over time, these acids can cause significant damage to your tooth structure, leading to cavities and even more severe consequences to your overall health and well-being.

Risk Factors for Dental Decay

  • Inadequate Oral Hygiene Practices - By not regularly brushing and flossing your teeth or seeing your dentist for periodic dental cleanings and care, dental plaque will accumulate and lead to the formation of cavities and gum disease.
  • Improper Nutrition - A diet high in sugars, frequent snacking as well as acidic food and drinks creates an oral environment that promotes tooth decay.
  • Dry Mouth - When adequate dental saliva, due to medical conditions or as a side effect of some prescription drugs, is not available to constantly bathe the teeth, cavities are more likely to develop.
  • Bruxism - Chronic teeth grinding strips away the outer protective layer of enamel and makes the teeth more vulnerable to decay.
  • Enamel Defects and Deeply Grooved Teeth - Deep crevices or defects in the dental enamel harbor plaque, and are likely areas to develop cavities.
  • Receding Gums - Exposed tooth roots due to receding gums do not have the added protection of an outer layer of dental enamel. With the accumulation of dental plaque, these roots are susceptible to decay.

Protecting Your Teeth from Decay: Tips and Tricks from Our Dentists

At New York Total Dental, we believe that prevention is the best approach when it comes to dental care. By following these simple steps, you can help protect your teeth from decay:

  1. Practice Good Oral Hygiene - Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day, and consider using an antibacterial mouthwash to kill bacteria and freshen breath. Regular dental checkups and cleanings are also essential for maintaining optimal oral health.
  2. Eat a Balanced Diet - Limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks, as well as acidic foods that can erode tooth enamel. Instead, focus on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to keep your teeth strong and healthy.
  3. Stay Hydrated - Drinking water throughout the day helps wash away food particles and bacteria from your mouth, reducing the risk of plaque buildup. Additionally, drinking fluoridated tap water can help strengthen tooth enamel.
  4. Address Dry Mouth - If you suffer from dry mouth due to medications or medical conditions, talk to our dentists about ways to increase saliva production and keep your teeth protected from decay.
  5. Consider Dental Sealants - For children who are particularly vulnerable to cavities, dental sealants can be applied to the chewing surfaces of their back teeth to provide an extra layer of protection against tooth decay.

Treating Tooth Decay and Restoring Your Smile

While prevention is always the best approach, there's no need to despair if a cavity does develop. With early detection and care, our dentists will gently and precisely remove the damaged tooth structure and place a long-lasting filling to rebuild the integrity of your tooth. We use the latest generations of biocompatible tooth-colored materials to create natural-looking restorations that blend seamlessly with your smile. For deep tooth decay, we may recommend a full-coverage crown and additional treatment as indicated.

Caring for Your Oral Health at Home

In addition to regular checkups at our office, there are several things you can do at home to maintain optimal oral health:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. This helps remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth, reducing the risk of cavities and gum disease. Be sure to replace your toothbrush every three months or when the bristles become frayed.
  • Floss daily - Flossing removes food particles and bacteria from between your teeth where your toothbrush can't reach, helping prevent plaque buildup and gum disease. If you find traditional floss difficult to use, consider investing in a water flosser.
  • Use mouthwash - Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash can help kill bacteria and freshen breath. Look for products that contain fluoride to help strengthen tooth enamel.

By following these tips and working closely with our dedicated staff, you can enjoy a healthy smile for years to come. Remember, if you have any concerns about your oral health or need advice on maintaining good oral hygiene habits, don't hesitate to reach out to us at the office of New York Total Dental. We're always here to help!

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30 E 40th St
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New York, NY 10016


New York Total Dental | Root Canals, Implant Dentistry and OrthodonticsNew York Total Dental | Oral Exams, Veneers and Implant DentistryNew York Total Dental | Preventative Program, Root Canals and Oral ExamsNew York Total Dental | Oral Exams, Cosmetic Dentistry and Invisalign®

New York Total Dental offers cosmetic dentistry and general dentistry services including full mouth rehabilitation, Invisalign, dental implants, orthodontics, veneers, periodontics gum treatment, teeth whitening, crowns and bridges, teeth fillings, and dental cleaning to Midtown Manhattan, Upper Manhattan, Lower Manhattan, and Downtown Manhattan in New York City.