Cavities form when tooth enamel, the outer layer of the teeth, is permanently damaged. There are several known causes of cavities, including plaque buildup, poor oral hygiene, and consuming lots of sugary snacks. Plaque begins to form on teeth in as little as 20 minutes after eating. The acids produced by plaque cause damage to tooth enamel and eventually create holes in the teeth called cavities.
More than 80 percent of adults will have had at least one cavity by the age of 34, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Understanding how to prevent the formation of cavities can help you avoid painful symptoms and maintain a beautiful, healthy smile. Learn more about dental cavities and how to prevent them with help from your dentist in Clermont Florida.
How Can I Prevent Cavities?
1. Understand Your Risk Level
Some people are more at risk for developing cavities than others. Young children and teens are at a higher risk for cavities, often due to inadequate brushing skills and unhealthy diet choices. Older adults are also at a higher risk for cavities as the teeth wear down over time and the gums start to recede, making teeth more vulnerable to decay. In addition, older adults tend to take more medications which can reduce saliva flow, increasing tooth decay risk.
2. Brush Daily with the Right Supplies
While everyone knows the importance of brushing at least twice a day, not everyone uses the proper supplies. If you’re not already, switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush as hard-bristled brushes can be tough on your enamel. Use fluoride toothpaste that will help strengthen your enamel and ward off cavities. Also, reassess your brushing technique. Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and move it back and forth in short strokes as you brush the inner, outer, and chewing surfaces of the teeth.
3. Cut Back on Sugary Snacks
Sugary treats and beverages, such as cookies, candy, and soda, can damage teeth. The harmful acids produced by bacteria after breaking down sugar can eat away at your enamel, increasing your odds of developing cavities. While the occasional sweet treat is okay, try to avoid frequent snacking. If you plan to eat or drink things that are sugary, try to do so at meal times and avoid eating or sipping on sugary items all day long.
4. Talk to Your Dentist About Sealants
Sealants can be an excellent cavity preventative, especially during childhood. Dental sealants refer to the thin plastic coating that is painted onto the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. This coating acts as a barrier to prevent food, bacteria, and debris from lodging in the crevices of the teeth. The process of applying sealants is quick and painless.
5. Use a Fluoride Mouthwash
Mouthwash is designed to help reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth, which then reduces the presence of dental plaque. The regular use of mouthwash can also help prevent periodontal disease and when used correctly, can reduce your risk of cavities. While there are many types of mouthwash on the market, you’ll want to choose one that contains fluoride and is alcohol-free to avoid drying out your mouth.
6. Quit Bad Habits Like Smoking
Extensive research has proven that smoking and tobacco use increases your risk of developing a variety of medical problems, including cavities. Cigarettes contain nicotine, which prevents the body from producing adequate amounts of saliva. Reduced saliva flow can result in dry mouth, bad breath, and an increased risk of tooth decay. Tobacco use also increases your odds of suffering from gum disease and gum tissue damage.
Prevent Cavities With Good Dental Care
Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in both adults and children. Fortunately, cavities are completely preventable. At Hancock Village Dental, we have helped countless families maintain their smiles through preventative dentistry services, such as comprehensive dental exams, X-rays, cleanings, and sealants. To schedule an appointment with our dentist in Clermont or to learn more about our dental services, contact our Clermont family dentistry office at 352.989.5815.