5 Ways to Prevent Cavities
When it comes to dental health, prevention is as important as treatment. One of the most common issues that can plague the mouth is a cavity, which happens when the tooth decays to the point of opening a hole within the enamel.
Although cavities can be painful and destructive, they are easy to manage and prevent. By following these five steps, you can prevent cavities in your teeth and the problems they can cause.
Why You Should Prevent Cavities
According to the CDC, cavities are very common. In fact, around 90 percent of adults in the United States have had at least one cavity, and more than half of children experience cavities in their baby or permanent teeth.
However, while cavities are abundant, they’re not something to be dismissed. When left untreated, a cavity can lead to more severe tooth decay, which can lead to an abscess (a severe infection).
Five Ways to Prevent Cavities
Thankfully, with proactive dental care and maintenance, it’s relatively easy to prevent cavities. Here are five ways to keep your teeth clean, healthy, and cavity-free.
Brush and Floss Daily
If you ever get any advice from your dentist, it’s to brush and floss at least once or twice a day. If possible, you should brush up to three times per day, while flossing once.
The reason brushing and flossing are so effective is that they remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth. Since these bacteria are what eat away the enamel and cause cavities, removing them prevents any problems from developing.
The best way to ensure your teeth are clean is to use fluoride-based toothpaste. Fluoride helps strengthen the tooth enamel, so you get twice the benefits. The brush removes plaque, while the fluoride reinforces your teeth. So, brushing more frequently ensures your teeth are as strong and resilient as possible.
However, brushing too often can be harmful. Eating and drinking can soften the enamel as bacteria digest the food and sugar in your mouth. So, if you brush immediately, you could erode the surface of your teeth more easily. Instead, it’s best to wait at least 30 minutes after a meal.
Water is essential for health, and it’s hard to overstate how vital it is to every part of your body. When talking about oral hygiene, water helps prevent cavities in a few ways.
- It helps wash away any food particles or debris that may be in your mouth. The more you drink, the more fluid gets into the various nooks and crannies between your teeth and gums.
- Water helps neutralize the acid in your mouth. This acid is necessary for breaking down food, but it also can wear away enamel. So, when you’re dehydrated, your teeth are experiencing more damage than they should.
- Most drinking water in the US contains fluoride. So, even if you don’t brush as often as you’d like, you can still strengthen your enamel with each cup you drink.
Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks
Bacteria love sugar. When exposed to sugar, bacteria populations explode almost exponentially. Since there is so much bacteria in your mouth, any sugar you eat will cause the organisms to multiply rapidly.
Realistically, sugar doesn’t have to lead to tooth decay if you’re diligent about brushing and rinsing your mouth after you eat. However, the longer the sugar stays in your mouth, the more bacteria grow and the more damage they can do to the enamel. So, limiting how much sugar you eat or drink is best.
Eat Raw Fruits and Veggies
Most people don’t eat as many fruits and vegetables as they should, leading to nutritional deficiencies. When your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs, that can throw the whole system off balance.
For oral health, though, raw fruits and vegetables benefit your teeth because the fibrous textures help scrub away plaque and bacteria from the enamel’s surface. Also, many of these foods have a lot of water, so you’re hydrating yourself simultaneously.
Schedule Regular Dental Checkups
Although proactive dental hygiene goes a long way toward preventing cavities, there’s only so much you can do. Dental cleanings and checkups can spot potential issues (like cavities) before they become more than a slight nuisance. During these visits, you can get recommendations on caring for your teeth so cavities don’t form. Ideally, you should schedule teeth cleanings twice per year.
Prevent Cavities With Your Local Dentist in Clermont
At Hancock Village Dental, we care about your teeth. We understand the challenges you may face when managing your dental hygiene, so we strive to help you as much as possible. Contact us to schedule a cleaning or to discuss any specific issues you’re experiencing. We are your Clermont family dentist, and we’d love to see your smile!