Tooth decay is not only the most common dental problem in the country; it\u2019s also the most preventable. If you are wondering how to prevent tooth decay, the short answer is a combination of proper dental hygiene, annual dental exams, and proper dieting. Lovett Dental's general dentistry services in TX can also tell you how to prevent tooth decay naturally.\u00a0 While dental cavities may seem like benign and minor health problems, the truth is tooth decay is the leading cause of serious dental problems in the United States. Overall, 92% of adults ages 20 to 64 have at least one cavity and, on average, have more than three decayed or missing teeth. Another 5% of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 are missing all of their natural teeth. What is Tooth Decay? Tooth decay is a progressive dental disease that is caused by bacteria in your mouth. Food particles, when left in your mouth, allow for bacteria to accumulate in your mouth and on your teeth. Food particles commonly become trapped and lodged between your teeth and in hard-to-reach places in your mouth. Over time, food particles can cause plaque to develop on your teeth. If you are wondering how to prevent tooth decay naturally, making sure that you brush and floss regularly is highly effective in preventing plaque accumulation. When plaque is left untreated, it can harden into tartar. Bacteria not only feed off of food particles and sugar and plaque. Bacteria releases a harmful and destructive acid when it consumes plaque, which can cause damage to your enamel. When your enamel thins, it can leave the exterior of your tooth unprotected. Tooth decay causes small cavities to occur inside your tooth. Although tooth decay can be removed by a dentist, it can expand and grow when neglected. When tooth decay is left untreated, the cavity can reach the pulp of your tooth, which houses nerves and blood vessels. This can cause painful tooth infections and dental abscesses, which require immediate dental treatment such as a root canal. Tooth decay can also cause: \tMisaligned teeth \tDiscoloration, yellowing, and staining \tGum disease, such as gingivitis \tPain and discomfort \tFractured and damaged teeth One advantage of attending annual dental exams as that you and your dentist can talk about how to prevent tooth decay. How to Prevent Tooth Decay Understanding tooth decay prevention can save you from having to deal with acute dental issues or a dental emergency. Seeing your dentist at least once a year greatly reduces your chances of developing tooth decay. During an annual exam, your dentist can perform professional dental cleanings and fluoride treatments, which can help remove existing bacteria and plaque and protect your teeth. Limiting your sugar consumption and avoiding things like tobacco and alcohol can help prevent tooth decay. Poor dieting can also wear down your enamel and worsen existing tooth decay. Your dentist at Lovett Dental can perform x-rays at annual exams, which can help identify early signs of tooth decay. When tooth decay is treated early, it can be reversed. However, when tooth decay is left unaddressed, it can lead to further problems. Having tooth decay also increases your chances of experiencing tooth loss and misalignment. Tooth decay can also cause pain and may require you to take time off of work. Making a Dental Appointment Today Taking control of your dental health means understanding how to prevent tooth decay. While tooth decay is preventable, it can cause a perfect storm of dental problems when ignored. To find out more about our premier dental services and how to prevent tooth decay, call Lovett Dental today at .