You’re brushing your teeth twice each day and flossing once. You should be cavity-free, right? Not necessarily.
How can you keep your pearly whites in tip-top shape? Read on for a primer on how to prevent cavities.
Common Causes of Cavities
The most significant cause of tooth decay is plaque buildup on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky, bacteria-filled film that constantly forms on teeth and gums and feeds off food particles in the mouth.
Plaque can affect more than your dental health; research has linked plaque to heart disease and early-onset diabetes.
Tobacco use is another significant factor in tooth decay. Smoking dries out saliva, leaving your mouth parched and full of harmful chemicals that dissolve enamel and damage gums.
Chewing tobacco also damages your gums, increasing the likelihood of infection and bleeding. When you chew tobacco, the harmful chemicals are exposed to your mouth’s soft tissues for an extended time—further contributing to your risk for other health issues.
The role of sugar in dental health is well established. Sugar, or more specifically the bacteria that feed on sugar, is a major cause of tooth decay. Sugar provides food for harmful bacteria in the mouth, causing them to proliferate. The bacteria produce acids that attack tooth enamel and cause cavities.
10 Tips to Help Prevent Cavities
- Brushing after every meal is ideal, but you should brush a minimum of twice a day for two minutes to keep your teeth clean and reduce plaque.
- Replace your toothbrush every three months (or sooner if the bristles are frayed). As the bristles age, they become less effective at cleaning your teeth and may harbor harmful bacteria.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Stiff bristles can damage your gums, which can contribute to periodontal disease.
- Use fluoride toothpaste to help prevent cavities and promote healthy enamel and dentin layers.
- Flossing is essential to help eliminate the bacteria between teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach.
- Try an oral irrigator or Waterpik. These devices remove plaque from your teeth by using water pressure to flush loose plaque or food particles without damaging the gums or enamel on your teeth.
- Mouthwash used as an extra step in your oral hygiene routine can help kill germs and bacteria and reduce tartar buildup on your teeth and gums, so you’re less likely to get cavities.
- If you’re prone to dry mouth, increase your water consumption. Alcoholic beverages also contribute to dry mouth, so limit your intake of these beverages.
- Visit the dentist at least twice each year for professional cleaning and an oral exam. Regular visits allow for early detection of any oral problems that may lead to cavities or other issues.
- Reduce your intake of refined sugars and starches. If you’ve consumed a meal particularly high in starch or sugar, try to brush immediately afterward to remove particles from your teeth and mouth.
Ready to Get Started?
Dental health is essential for overall good health, so you want to keep your teeth in the best condition possible. To keep your smile healthy, you need to do your part by consistently practicing good oral hygiene.
With a state-of-the-art dental office combining the latest technology with a dedication to patient comfort, the dental experts at 376 Dental Studio can help you stay cavity-free. To schedule a cleaning or checkup, contact us today at 781-373-3068 to schedule your appointment.