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5 Things You Can Do To Prevent Cavities

Everyone knows that excellent oral hygiene is the best way to keep teeth healthy and clean. However, cavities remain a problem you will likely contend with at some point in your life. Tooth decay is one of the most common conditions. More than 50 percent of American teens and one in four adults have or have had cavities.

What Are Dental Cavities?

Dental cavities are tiny holes on the tooth’s surface that develop when oral bacteria make acid, which attacks the tooth’s enamel. Risk factors for developing cavities include improper dental hygiene, sugary drinks and foods, and a dry mouth. It is impossible to fix cavities once they progress to a certain level without a visit to the dentist.

Unfortunately, many people take oral health for granted, yet it is an essential part of everyday life. It is never too late to prevent dental problems. While flossing and brushing are two of the most effective ways to maintain healthy gums and teeth, you can take several other steps to prevent cavities. These include:

Know Your Risk Level

Knowing your cavity risk level is the first step to taking control of your dental health. The best way to do this is through regular comprehensive dental exams and discussions with your dentist. You can take a more effective and specific approach to improve your dental health once you know your risk level.

Floss and Brush Your Teeth Properly at Least Twice Daily

Use the right toothbrush and toothpaste containing fluoride to keep your tooth enamel strong enough to resist the acid produced by oral bacteria. Flossing removes plaque and cleans areas that a toothbrush cannot reach.

A billion microbes live in your mouth, recycling what you drink and eat. Oral bacteria can cause tooth decay by feeding on the drinks and food you consume, leaving behind dental plaque. Plaque allows the microbes to stick around your teeth longer until they start making acids that wear down the enamel, causing cavities. Brushing and flossing using the proper techniques help eliminate bacteria, preventing cavities.

Cut Back on Acidic and Sugary Drinks and Drink More Water

Exposing your teeth to acidic tea or coffee, compounded by added milk, cream, or syrups, can increase your risk for new dental cavities. If you need your morning cup of coffee or tea, go ahead and enjoy it, but keep it to less than 20 minutes and rinse your mouth with water.

The problem with drinking coffee or tea with cavity-causing additives is that the harmful sugars remain in your saliva over a prolonged period. Drinking water will rinse your mouth and keep your saliva from turning too sugary and eroding your teeth.

Quit Smoking

Smoking harms nearly every body organ. Smoking and oral tobacco can also damage your teeth, gums, and mouth. Besides staining your teeth, this unhealthy habit can lead to cavities, tooth loss, gum disease, and even oral cancer.

Get Dental Sealants

Dentists place sealants on the deep grooves of teeth in people with a high risk for tooth decay. Dental sealants minimize the chances of future decay by converting the deep grooves to a shallow, smooth surface that will not catch food particles and retain plaque.

Learning how to prevent cavities will help ensure you do not need to visit your dentist to get a filling. These small, manageable steps are enough to prevent cavities and gum disease. Do not let cavities affect your smile.

For more dental care tips, call Andrew J. Holloman, DDS & Associates, at (727) 245-0027 to reach our Clearwater, Florida office.