You might be surprised to learn that tooth decay is on the rise despite fluoride being added to drinking water and the advances in modern dentistry, but this is the unfortunate fact. Thousands of children go to their dentists for tooth extractions caused by decay while more than a million preschoolers get fillings.

The truth about tooth decay in both children and adults

It is believed that part of the blame falls on the popularity of fruit juices. Parents tend to think that since they’re supposedly healthy and natural, they wouldn’t harm the teeth, but they happen to contain a good amount of sugar.

It’s one thing for kids who are not yet very conscientious about cleaning their teeth to contend with the issue of tooth decay, but according to statistics, 60 percent of adults don’t observe proper oral care, so a lot of them develop cavities in their teeth as well. What makes it more alarming is that they are usually shocked to discover the presence of tooth decay in their mouths since they feel that they are diligent enough in brushing their teeth.

Nonetheless, frequent brushing is not the key, not if you’re not doing it properly. What is the proper way to brush your teeth, anyway? For starters, you need to brush your teeth for at least two minutes. Electric toothbrushes have been found to be about 45 percent more effective than manual toothbrushes. These days, there are really smart ones that oscillate and pulsate, as well as time your brushing and flashes a warning if you’re brushing too hard.

The way to brush your teeth is to divide your mouth area into different sections and then spend 30 seconds on each one. Use gentle circular motions and move your brush along the gum line. Never move it back and forth as in a sawing motion. Brush all surfaces of the teeth – the buccal (the exposed side), the palatal (the inside), and the occlusal (the biting surface). Wait at least half an hour after brushing before eating or drinking. Don’t brush right after eating either. Since food has plaque acids that weaken the enamel of the teeth, brushing immediately will scratch the weakened enamel. Wait an hour before brushing.

Don’t forget to floss. This isn’t optional. 40 percent of your teeth can’t be reached by brushing, so make sure you floss at least once a day. It’s also good to use a mouthwash. To play it safe, go for ones formulated for children.

Fruits may be healthful, but they can really mess with your teeth, be they in their original, juice, or dried form. If you want to snack, breadsticks, rice cakes, nuts, seeds, and cheese are better options for your teeth. As a rule, however, it’s best for both adults and children to avoid snacking altogether since it takes an hour for saliva to neutralize plaque acids, so as you snack, you set the process back to scratch again.

Considering the above, do you remain confident in your efforts to take care of your teeth? Or are you actively yet unconsciously courting cavities like many adults are?

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