Whether you've had a filling before or not, tooth decay plagues everyone. However, the severity of this issue definitely varies from person to person. Most people are all told that the rate of tooth decay they experience depends directly on their hygiene habits (brushing, flossing and rinsing) and diet, but the formula is usually a lot more complicated, with many more variables to consider.
Things like your tooth shape, the buffering capacity of your saliva, the nature of the surface of your teeth, whether or not you have any rare dental diseases and what bacteria occupy your mouth all greatly impact the rate at which your teeth decay, but these are all typically unchangeable. However, there are some changes you can make to your habits which can further decrease the chances of your teeth decaying, other than more brushing, flossing and mouthwash.
Lower Your Fermentable Carbohydrate Intake
Most people were told in primary school that eating fewer sugary foods will stop teeth from rotting. This is true, but there are other foods you should try to avoid just as much. Bacteria in your mouth convert fermentable carbohydrates, such as the simple sugars sucrose, glucose and fructose, into acids through their digestion process. These acids can slowly eat through your tooth enamel, creating tiny ditches for bacteria to live, where they will create more acid, continuing the cycle of decay.
What isn't normally talked about is that the digestive enzymes in your saliva break down simple carbohydrates into the simple sugars which feed these acid-producing bacteria that cause tooth decay. These simple carbohydrates can be found in highly processed foods like bread, cereal and crackers.
Cut down on the Snacking
Teeth decay at any pH under 5.5. When you eat, the pH of your mouth typically lowers, and it can be several hours before it gets back to normal. Apples normally have a pH of around 3.6, so it's easy to spend a large portion of your day snacking on relatively healthy foods while your teeth are constantly bathing in acid.
If you want your teeth to last longer, cut down on the snacking and stick to larger, less-frequent and less-acidic meals. Also wait at least an hour after eating before brushing, as acid-weakened tooth enamel can be easily damaged. Also, if you think you may have untreated acid reflux, you should get that checked out; stomach acid is strong stuff.
Stop Avoiding the Dentist
It definitely isn't uncommon to procrastinate a dentist visit. However, the more often you visit, the less intrusive and potentially painful each visit will be. Not much is better at stopping a potential cavity than a dentist's cleaning, and nothing is better at catching a young cavity than a dental x-ray. Contact a dentist in your area for additional advice.