We understand most people would prefer to never meet us, at least in the case of needing a root canal. For these people who would prefer to avoid such treatment, here are 7 things to know about prevention:

1. Wear Your Seatbelt

Root canals are required when tooth decay reaches the nerve, also known as the pulp of the tooth. This level of decay occurs for a number of reasons including trauma to the mouth and teeth. Even a light bump can instigate the decay of oral tissue and as such, preventing such trauma is critical. To avoid unwanted injury to your face, mouth or teeth, and of course, for your personal safety, always wear your seatbelt.

2. Wear A Mouth Guard

Similar to the damage that can occur to teeth in a minor to severe car accident, tooth decay can be initiated through contact or accident while playing sports. To protect your teeth and to help prevent the need for a root canal procedure, always wear a mouth guard while playing sports that could potentially injure your mouth or face.

3. Brush Twice a Day, Floss at Least Once a Day

We know you have heard it a 1000 times, and likely far more, but the best way you can prevent a root canal and tooth decay is to brush your teeth twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush. You should brush gently for at least two minutes while ensuring all surfaces of every tooth is cleaned. Floss once a day with dental floss. Be sure to floss both the left and right sides of the gums between each tooth.

4. Go to the Dentist Regularly

Regular cleanings and checkups are not only a way to make sure your teeth are cared for properly, but they are also the most effective means for early detection of tooth decay or other issues. Unless recommended otherwise, visit your dentist every 6 months.

5. Act Quickly

There are numerous symptoms of needing a root canal or other dental work. Some symptoms include sensitivity to pressure, hot, cold or sweet food or drinks, an abscess or pimple near the tooth, fever, persistent pain, swelling, inability to sleep, headaches and more. If you experience any of these symptoms or have a toothache for more than a day or two, you should see your dentist or endodontist immediately.

6. Stay Away from the Doritos

Needing a filling or a root canal is caused from tooth decay. Tooth decay can begin from a trauma to the mouth such as falling or being in an accident. It can also occur from improper diet choices. A proper diet to prevent root canals and tooth decay includes avoiding foods that are processed or refined, high in sugar or high in carbohydrates. Examples of these foods are white bread, packaged cakes, cookies or candy, breakfast cereals, pastas, soda, fruit juices, salad dressings, condiments and more. Two general rules of thumb are to read the ingredients on the back of packages and if you can’t identify each and every one, don’t eat it and to shop in the outside aisles of the grocery store only.

7. Seek help if you grind your teeth

Teeth grinding and clenching can cause nerve damage, and then ultimately the need for a root canal. Many people do not know they grind their teeth because they do it while they sleep. However, if you are having persistent headaches, you may very well need to talk to a dentist about how to stop and/or prevent further damage from grinding your teeth. Often a comfortable mouth guard worn at night can provide great assistance.

Need a Richmond, Virginia area endondontist? We are happy to help! Contact East Coast Endodontics with your questions or concerns.

About the Author

Dr. Harris has been a practicing dentist since 2005. In 2012, he received his Master’s of Science in Dentistry and a certificate in Endodontics. He founded East Coast Endodontics shortly after receiving his master’s degree. He also currently holds a part-time position as a Clinical Assistant Professor for the Endodontics department at Virginia Commonwealth University. View his full bio.