Although advancements in technology and microsurgical techniques have made root canals more comfortable and less stressful, the procedure still requires significant investment of time, money, and care. Root canals aren’t inevitable, though – you can reduce your risk of needing one with targeted, proactive self-care.
The tips below can help you prevent a root canal. They focus on managing your risk of falling prey to the three major causes of root canals: tooth decay, infection, and injury. By diligently following these tips, you can greatly lower your chance of needing a root canal, or developing serious oral health problems.
Keeping Teeth Strong And Healthy: 5 Tips For Avoiding A Root Canal
- Brush your teeth twice a day. A twice-daily toothbrushing routine is the first line of defense against tooth decay, a major contributor to the type of dental pulp infections that require a root canal to resolve. Use an American Dental Association (ADA) approved fluoride toothpaste on a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Floss your teeth once a day. This will amplify the effectiveness of brushing your teeth. Flossing cleans the 40 percent of tooth surfaces that cannot be reached by brushing.
- Strengthen your teeth with calcium-rich foods. Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese provide calcium to protect and build tooth enamel. You can also get calcium by eating green leafy vegetables, including bok choy, Brussels sprouts, and kale.
- Use care when you bite down. This tip applies any time you apply force with your teeth. Be careful eating foods like nuts or peanut brittle or hard pretzels. And if you use your “teeth as tools” to rip, tear, or clamp down on things – stop it!
- Wear a mouthguard for sports or workouts. Use a mouthguard when playing ANY sport where a collision or fall is possible. Mouthguards should also be worn during fitness activities such as rock climbing, hiking, or even cycling. To best avoid dental injury that could lead to a root canal, get your mouthguard professionally fitted.
“Chances of needing a root canal can be minimized with proper planning and the right habits,” says Dr. Susan L. Wood, an endodontist at Phoenix Endodontic Group. “Visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings, and always let them know if you experience any discomfort or symptoms indicating you need a root canal.”