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Fluoride Helps to Prevent Cavities

Keeping a happy and healthy smile

To keep a happy and healthy smile, it’s recommended that an adult visit the dentist once every 12 months. Without this routine cleaning and check-up, adults are at a higher risk for tooth decay (cavities) and other serious oral health issues. There are also other preventive actions to lower your risk of tooth decay.

What does a dentist look for when diagnosing tooth decay?

Although any tooth surface is susceptible to decay, the most vulnerable spots are the uneven or hard-to-reach areas. Particularly prone to decay are the crevices (known as pits and fissures) on the surface of the crown, the points where adjacent teeth meet, and the exposed neck of the tooth at the gum line.

Your dentist can often spot decay on the visible surfaces of the teeth, while cavities in unseen spots—such as between teeth—generally show up on X-rays. Still, finding cavities can be tricky and researchers are testing several technologies.

Using fluoride to lower cavity risk

Fluoride is a great product for adults to prevent tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when your enamel breaks down, usually from plaque and bacteria in your mouth that eat away at your tooth. Tooth decay may take years to develop but if it’s caught early, it may be reversed through the use of fluoride.

What else can help prevent cavities?

  • Check with your dentist about the need for topical fluoride and sealants to protect your teeth from tooth decay.
  • Floss at least once per day.
  • Avoid frequent snacking on sugary or starchy foods. These foods feed the bacteria that cause tooth decay.
  • Watch for signs of gum disease. See your dentist right away if your gums are pulled back from your teeth, red, swollen, or tender, or if they bleed when you brush; if your teeth are loose or are moving apart; or if you notice changes in your bite.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for preventive care.

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