How to prevent tooth decay

Tooth decay and dental cavities are one of the most common health problems amongst children and the elderly. The World Health Organisation confirms that it is a widespread health issue and one of the most common non-communicable diseases. If cavities are left untreated, they will affect the deeper layers of your teeth, resulting in painful toothache and an infected tooth. Find out how to prevent tooth decay with Bloom. We offer top tips for the best prevention methods for good dental health and hygiene.

What is tooth decay & why is it dangerous?

Tooth decay relates to the destruction of the tooth’s structure. The decay affects both the tooth enamel, which is the outer coating of the tooth, and the dentin layer of the tooth. The decay occurs when food, which is usually carbohydrates like sugar or starch, is left on the teeth. This turns into acid, which combines with saliva and bacteria to form plaque. Acids in plaque cling to one’s teeth and begin to dissolve the tooth enamel, resulting in dental cavities or an abscess.

Discover more about the importance of good dental health, as well as the most common types of dental problems and diseases.

How to prevent tooth decay: top tips from the experts

Avoid tooth decay by keeping your teeth healthy. There are a number of dental tips you can apply on a daily, weekly and yearly basis to ensure your teeth are in tip-top shape and in no danger of developing tooth decay.

  1. Daily tips to avoid tooth decay 
  • Brush your teeth twice per day. It comes as no surprise that we need to brush our teeth in the morning and before we go to bed. But are you brushing your teeth properly? Experts recommend small circular motions on your teeth and you should aim to brush for at least two minutes.
  • Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride is the substance that protects your teeth against tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel in a process called mineralisation. This prevents the production of bacteria that causes plaque.
  • Drink more water. Not only does drinking water keep you healthy and hydrated, but it also assists with good dental hygiene. Experts suggest drinking water after each meal in order to wash away acids and food that may be lodged in your teeth.
  • Floss your teeth every day. Experts recommend that you should floss your teeth before brushing them. Flossing is an important part of good dental hygiene because it will lift and remove food and bacteria between your teeth that brushing cannot reach. Flossing will also help prevent gum disease.
  1. Weekly tips to prevent tooth decay
  • Watch your diet. Fresh fruit and vegetables promote the flow of saliva, which has the effect of cleaning out your mouth and preventing plaque build-up.
  • Avoid or limit sugary snacks. Simple sugars convert into acids, which eat away at your tooth enamel and detin, causing tooth decay and cavities.
  • Rinse out your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash. A good mouthwash can reduce the amount of acid in your mouth and re-mineralise the teeth. It’s also a good way to clean those hard-to-reach areas in your mouth.
  1. Yearly tips to prevent tooth decay
  • Visit your dentist for an oral exam and teeth cleaning every six months
  • Use a dental sealant, which is a protective plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of your back teeth, to seal off grooves in which food could lodge.
  • Consider using an advanced fluoride treatment if you have a high risk of plaque build-up. The dentist could prescribe a customised tray that fits over your teeth for the application of fluoride.
  • Use an antibacterial treatment if you find yourself at risk for tooth decay because of a medical condition. The dentist can prescribe a specialised antibacterial rinse to treat the harmful bacteria in your mouth.

When should you see a dentist?

Dental hygiene experts will recommend that you visit your dentist twice a year for a check-up and teeth clean. However, if you experience any of the following tooth decay symptoms, we advise making an appointment with the dentist as soon as possible:

    • Constant toothache or pain in your mouth
    • Facial swelling
    • Bleeding gums
    • Bad breath
    • Teeth sensitivity to hot or cold food or drink
    • Redness inside the mouth

Tooth decay & cavity problems covered by the Health4Me dental benefit

Sometimes, despite all our best efforts, tooth decay will occur. If that’s the case, the Health4Me dental benefit can cover the necessary procedures to address the problem. These tooth decay treatments are covered by the dental benefit:

  • Fillings. Dental fillings and repairs use restorative materials to help repair the tooth that has been damaged due to tooth decay or cavities. This will prevent further decay. Without a proper filling, the tooth decay will progress and eventually rot the tooth entirely. A rotten tooth that will have to be fully extracted.
  • Extractions. A rotten tooth can be extracted by the dentist using a local anaesthetic, which will numb the area around the tooth. The dentist will then use an elevator to loosen the tooth and a pair of forceps to remove the tooth.

How to find a dentist?

Health4Me Gold and Silver plan members can use any dentist on the Momentum CareCross Dental Network for basic and emergency dentistry. If you would like some help locating a dentist, simply contact us on 0860 1029 03. Specialist dentistry, like crowns, bridges and surgical extractions are not covered. Check the Momentum Health4Me dental list to find a dentist near you.

Get health insurance with a dental benefit

How to prevent tooth decay? The answer is with smart lifestyle choices and a health insurance plan that includes a dental benefit. Bloom encourages our members to focus on healthy living. Take all the necessary preventative measures to stop tooth decay. However, if you do develop tooth decay, we advise visiting a dentist in a timely manner. Contact one of our trained consultants to discuss your options for an affordable dental health insurance plan that suits your individual needs and budget.

Medical Content Disclaimer

You understand and acknowledge that all users of the Bloom website are responsible for their own medical care, treatment, and oversight. All content provided on the website, is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Neither is it intended to be a substitute for an independent professional medical opinion, judgement, diagnosis or treatment.

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Momentum Health4Me is not a medical scheme product, and is not a substitute for medical scheme membership. The information provided on this website does not constitute advice in terms of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act. Momentum is a division of Momentum Metropolitan Life Limited, an authorised financial services provider (FSP 6406) and a wholly owned subsidiary of Momentum Metropolitan Holdings Limited.

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