Preventing tooth decay: advice from dentists

Preventing dental caries

Tooth decay is caused by sugars in food and bacteria in the mouth. It's a very common disease, affecting the vast majority of the population. However, you can take action to prevent dental caries. To do so, you need to adopt certain measures on a daily basis. Find out what dentists have to say.

Good oral hygiene

Preventing tooth decay starts with a daily oral hygiene routine. These actions help keep your mouth and teeth healthy. Dentists in Lausanne, Fribourg and Aigle share the following recommendations:

  • Visit teeth brushing should ideally take place after each meal and before going to bed. Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • If you can't brush your teeth after consuming a sweet food or drink, drink a glass of water. Another option is to chew sugar-free chewing gum to activate salivation and rinse your mouth naturally. 
  • The minimum brushing time is two minutes. 
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • It's not advisable to rinse your mouth after brushing to let the fluoride protect your teeth.
  • Don't forget to brush your tongue, as food debris can lodge there and cause bad breath.
  • The use of dental floss or an interdental brush is recommended once a day. These accessories effectively clean interdental spaces that are impossible to reach with a toothbrush. 

These instructions correspond to the needs of an adult. For babies and children, please consult your pediatrician. Oral hygiene practices vary according to age. 

Fluoride products to prevent dental caries

Fluorides reduce the action of cavity-causing bacteria. In effect, they strengthen enamel and make teeth more resistant. These compounds are also used to treat early-stage decay and halt its progression.

  • Use a age-appropriate fluoride toothpaste. The dosage is lower for children and higher for adults. The amount of toothpaste is also important. For children under 3, apply the equivalent of a grain of rice. For children aged 3 to 6, the size of a pea is sufficient. Never swallow fluoride toothpaste.
  • You can also use a fluoride mouthwash if you wish, or if your dental hygienist has recommended it.
  • In some countries, tap water contains fluorides. Drinking fluoridated water is an additional way of preventing tooth decay. You can check the fluoride content of tap water with your local water authority.  
  • Fluoride supplements are also available in tablet or drop form. These help prevent cavities. Consult your dentist in Lausanne, Aigle or Fribourg to find out whether you or your child should take fluoride supplements.

The importance of eating habits

Visit Swiss Society of Dentists recommends a healthy, varied and balanced diet. Over and above the overall benefits to your health, these habits make a major contribution to keeping your mouth healthy and your smile bright. 

  • Adopt a low-sugar diet. 
  • Reduce your consumption of soft drinks, energy drinks, juices with added sugar and other processed products.
  • Limit treats, cookies and pastries with a sticky consistency.
  • Avoid snacking between meals.
  • Choose fruits, vegetables, cheeses, milk, yogurt, nuts, seeds and whole-grain cereals.

Examination of the oral cavity for the prevention of dental caries

Swiss dentists recommend regular inspection of the inside of your mouth. As you look into your oral cavity, examine the condition of your teeth and look for small coloured holes in the enamel or in the ridges. This is the first symptom of tooth decay.

Inspect the inside of your little one's mouth too. In young children, cavities can be more difficult to detect. They often appear as white spots or lines along the gum line. At an advanced stage, the cavity becomes visible, forming a brown or black hole.

If you notice these signs or have any doubts, consult your dentist.

Dental check-ups

Last but not least, dental caries prevention means regular check-ups with an oral health professional. For adults, we recommend at least an annual visit if you have no oral pathology. For children, it's best to see a dentist every 6 months, as they are at greater risk of developing cavities. You should plan your baby's first dental check-up around the age of one.

If you have any questions about your health, contact the HELVIDENT team. We welcome you to our dental clinics in Lausanne, Fribourg and Aigle.