Dental cavities, or tooth decay, affect more than 90% of the US adult population. Cavities occur when the enamel on your teeth is damaged, resulting in a small hole in the tooth. These holes leave the sensitive lower layers at risk for decay.
Genetics plays a big role in how many cavities you’re likely to get, but proper oral hygiene and a good diet play an even more important role. Here’s what you can do to keep cavities to a minimum.
Change Your Diet
Avoid sweets. Do you have a sweet tooth? Most people know that too much candy and too many sugary drinks can contribute to tooth decay. Even if you love sugar, these simple steps will lessen its impact on your teeth.
- Carry a disposable or portable toothbrush with you wherever you go so you can brush your teeth after consuming food or drinks containing sugar.
- Since higher sugar consumption puts you at risk for more plaque buildup, make sure your home toothbrush has triple action bristles and diamond-shaped heads so to get into all those nooks and crannies. Power toothbrushes with soft bristles are also a great idea.
- Of course, you can try to limit how many sugary snacks you eat!
Treat Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is more than just a nuisance, it can also contribute to cavities. This is because saliva is an important defense system, washing away contaminants and keeping your mouth’s pH level balanced. When your saliva is limited, your teeth are exposed to harmful bacteria that can build and lead to tooth decay and cavities.
If you’ve got dry mouth, the first step is to determine the cause. Many medical conditions and medications can cause dry mouth. Treating these conditions or side effects can help you produce more saliva. You can also try sipping water throughout the day and sucking on sugarless hard candy designed to stimulate saliva production. If you’re unable to combat dry mouth on your own, it’s time to book an appointment with your dentist.
Brush Twice a Day
You might be tempted to brush just once a day, but it’s important to make brushing, flossing, and rinsing a twice daily routine. When you don’t, bacteria thrive and grow on the food in between your teeth and the result is decay.
Don’t Forget to Floss
Does anyone really enjoy flossing? Probably not, but it’s key to staying on top of your oral health. Floss at least once a day to prevent gum disease and cavities. Some people who find flossing difficult use dental picks, pre-threaded flossers, and/or wooden plaque removers.
Visit Your Dentist Twice a Year
The bacteria living in your mouth are ruthless and can damage your oral health without you even realizing it. Your dentist is trained to recognize problems before they become serious issues and can even be an early detector of conditions like diabetes and anemia. There’s no one-size-fits-all regimen, so talk to your dentist about how often you should visit. And remember, if you avoid seeing the dentist due to nerves, there are lots of ways to make it a more pleasant experience!
Schedule a Cavity Checkup
Consistent brushing and flossing combined with regular visits to the dentist helps prevent plaque buildup and decay. To schedule an oral checkup and learn more about how to prevent cavities, contact Caven Dental today.