Most people need a filling at some point in their lives. Eventually, a combination of poor oral hygiene and diet conspire to cause teeth to rot. It seems like a normal part of life.
However, human teeth are designed to last a lifetime (and sometimes longer). Over millions of years of evolution, nature figured out how to make them tough so they could survive for decades, even with chewing food every day.
Unfortunately, the modern world is much more dangerous for teeth. Various environmental factors mean that our collective dentition is much more vulnerable to decay than it was in the past.
So is there anything you can do to prevent fillings for the rest of your life? In this post, we find out.
Use Interdental Brushes
Regular toothbrushes are very good at removing plaque from the surface of teeth. But they are not so adept at getting rid of it from the gaps between teeth. In fact, bacteria can often hang out in these locations for years undisturbed.
The solution is to use interdental brushes. These are small, brush-like devices that slot between teeth, scooping out all the unwanted plaque. You can think of them as being a bit like floss. However, evidence suggests that they are much more effective.
Talk To You Dentist
Another strategy is to go to your family dentist and ask them what they would recommend. Get them to make suggestions about how you can look after your teeth better and protect them long-term. They may have ideas that are specific to you and your lifestyle.
Smoking weakens teeth and gums. And while it doesn’t cause decay directly, it can produce conditions that make it more likely.
Eat Different Foods
Sugar and foods that contain refined flour comprise a significant portion of the total calories that westerners consume. Most people get around 40 percent of their energy from candies, bread, white pasta, and so on.
But while these foods might be a part of your culture, they are not good for your health. That’s because they contain sugars and starches that promote the growth of bacteria that cause tooth decay and cavities. These microorganisms produce acid as a waste product that softens and then breaks down tooth enamel.
The good news is that most whole-plant foods and meat have precisely the opposite effect. These foods encourage the growth of healthy bacteria in your mouth and dramatically reduce the risk of decay.
Reducing the “stickiness” of your food can also help a great deal. When dentists use the word “sticky,” they aren’t referring to gluey foods, like toffee. Instead, they mean foods where small particles are more likely to stay in the mouth.
For instance, when you eat a raisin, the way the cells that make up the food are structured means that particles won’t stay in the mouth for long. Instead, they will wash away when you swallow.
The same is not true of white bagels. Atomized particles can remain in the mouth, providing more energy to plaque-causing bacteria.