Dental health is often taken for granted, and skipping a tooth brushing occasionally may not seem like a big deal. But, neglecting dental care like brushing twice daily can cause big problems.
The good news is that cavities are preventable. The following 15 cavity prevention tips can help keep your smile healthy and beautiful.
- Brush your teeth regularly
Brushing properly and daily with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes is a simple way to prevent cavities. Brush all sides of your teeth and your tongue as well. Your dental hygienist can demonstrate the proper technique, especially if you wear braces or have dental restorations.
- Don’t forget night-time brushing
Saliva is your body’s natural protection against cavities, but saliva production decreases when you sleep. This is why it is so important to make brushing your teeth a priority before going to bed. Plaque-ridden teeth are vulnerable when you sleep and more likely to get cavities.
- Check your toothpaste contents
Toothpaste that contains fluoride significantly reduces your risk of tooth decay. Fluoride can help to prevent cavities by slowing the breakdown of enamel and increasing the tooth’s strength. When a tooth is strong, it will be more resistant to acid. Fluoride toothpaste can help build up the weaker spots on tooth enamel and prevent damage to that area.
Unsure of which toothpaste is best for your pearly whites? Ask your hygienist for a recommendation.
- Use soft-bristle brush
Most dentists recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush because they can get between teeth to remove plaque easily and efficiently. While using this brush, it is still important to brush your teeth properly. Small, circular motions help to reach food particles under your gum line.
- Change brush frequently
Dentists recommend changing your toothbrush every three to four monthsbecause the bristles on your brush become ineffective and an old wet toothbrush is a perfect host for bacteria.
Replace your toothbrush sooner if the bristles become frayed or after you have been ill with a high fever, so you don’t continue to expose yourself to germs.
Can’t remember when you last replaced your toothbrush? Change it with the seasons!
- Use floss
Dental floss removes plaque build-up and food debris in areas that a toothbrush cannot reach. Food particles and bacteria can become trapped between teeth and daily flossing can help dislodge them before they can get into your tooth’s pores and cause a cavity.
Make sure you floss both sides of every tooth, including your molars.
Should you brush or floss first? It doesn’t matter, as long as you do it every day.
- Use mouthwash
Using a mouthwash that contains fluoride is importanttoprevent tooth decay and cavities. Vigorously rinsing your mouth out with mouthwash loosens food particles stuck between teeth that may be left from brushing and flossing.
- Treat dry mouth
Saliva works as a buffer to diffuse plaque and washes away food particles to help inhibit tooth decay and reduce your risk for cavities.
Dry mouth can be causedby medication, certain medical conditions, and dehydration. Due to the reduced saliva production caused by dry mouth cavities may form. If dry mouth is left untreated, severe tooth decay can occur.
- Say no to snacks
Most people don’t have time to brush teeth after snacking which can cause plaque to form and harden. Snacking also exposes your teeth to cavity-causing foods without a break. If you do snack choose foods that increase saliva production and remove surface stains and plaque from your teeth like celery or carrots.
- Strict no for sticky and sugary foods
Sugary foods nourish the harmful bacteria in your mouth that cause cavities and raise the acidity level which erodes your teeth.
Sticky foods are especially harmful to your teeth because they can get trapped between teeth and be challenging to remove.
- Eat foods that prevent cavities
Fibre-rich fruits and vegetables help to keep your teeth and gums clean. These foods also stimulate saliva flow which helps to wash away residue left behind from sugar-filled foods.
Cheese is another food that increases saliva production. The calcium in dairy productshelps to replace minerals in your teeth and rebuild tooth enamel.
Poultry products, seafood, and powdered cereals provide fluoride to help strengthen teeth.
Whole grains deliver vitamins B and iron to keep your gums healthy. They also contain magnesium which strengthens bones and teeth. Additionally, whole grains are high in fibre which helps to remove sugary or sticky foods.
Chewing sugarless gum can help create more saliva flow and remove food particles from your mouth.
- Drink unsweetened liquids
Sugary drinks are one of the leading causes of cavity formation. The sugar latches onto teeth and is consumed by bacteria. These acidic bacteria eat away at the enamel in the tooth causing the tooth to become thinner and weaker, making it more susceptible to cavities.
Green and black teas contain polyphenols that can kill bacteria. This can help prevent bacteria from growing acids that attack your teeth. These teas are a great alternative to sugary beverages. Brewing your tea using tap water provides even more benefits.
- Drink tap water
Tap water won’t stop cavities, but it will help to wash away bacteria and food particles in your mouth. Tap water contains fluoride and wheningested, it strengthens your teeth. This natural defence against cavities can help protect your teeth.
- Visit your dentist regularly
Biyearly visits to the dentist are highly recommended and can help prevent cavities. Dental hygienists can professionally clean your teeth which is essential to keep teeth and gums plaque and tartar free. Your dentist can also identify and promptly treat cavities.
- Get a dental sealant
A dental sealant can be applied to your teeth by your dentist. This helps to protect your teeth against bacteria entering the pores. Dental sealants last up to several years, and every time you visit your dentist they can check to see if the sealant needs touched up.