Five Effective Ways to Prevent Cavities

Five Effective Ways to Prevent Cavities

The numbers surrounding tooth decay and dental caries (the technical term for cavities) in the United States are eye-opening: A whopping 92% of adults ages 20–64 have cavities. And the numbers among younger populations aren’t much better: Nearly 60% of kids between the ages of 12 and 19 have dental caries.

While some dental caries may be unavoidable, most can be prevented with the right dental care. To help you and your family protect yourselves against tooth decay, Dr. Mohammed Mansour and our team outline the most effective steps you can take to ward off cavities.

How a cavity forms

Before we get into prevention tips, let’s take a look at how cavities form in the first place. Your mouth contains hundreds of types of bacteria — some good, some bad. Tooth decay occurs when certain types of bacteria take in enough sugar that they secrete an acid that breaks down the enamel on your teeth. 

Now let’s take a look at five ways in which you can prevent this from happening.

1. Fill up on fluoride

To help keep your enamel strong, it’s important that you take in enough fluoride. This mineral is found in most of our community drinking water sources, so if you’re only turning to bottled water, it would be helpful if you drank out of the tap more often.

You can also get fluoride from most toothpastes — just check to ensure that the label mentions fluoride.

2. Don’t let sugar linger

As we mentioned above, the bacteria that cause tooth decay feed on sugar, so it’s important that you quickly clear sugar from your mouth. We understand that it’s hard to avoid sugar, but after you have a cookie or a candy bar, rinse your mouth with water, at the very least. Better still, give your teeth a quick brush.

Don’t brush right after sugary, acidic drinks like soda though, or you can damage your tooth enamel. Just rinse with water and wait 30-60 minutes before brushing

You should also avoid foods that allow sugar to linger in your mouth, such as hard candies.

3. Brush at least twice a day

A good at-home dental hygiene regimen includes thoroughly brushing your teeth at least twice a day — once in the morning and once before bed. We recommend that you use a toothbrush with soft bristles, and we caution you against scrubbing too hard as you can wear away your enamel.

Instead, hold your brush at a 45-degree angle and gently clean the surfaces of your teeth, your gums, and even your tongue.

If you can brush your teeth after every meal, better still, as you promptly remove any food sources that those harmful bacteria can feed on.

4. Floss between teeth

Even with vigilant brushing, food can still get caught between your teeth, which is why we recommend flossing at least once a day. Cavities often form in those hard-to-reach places between teeth, and flossing is the best tool for preventing this from happening.

5. Keep up with your professional dental care

This last point is an important one — it’s critical that you keep up with your regular dental care with us, which includes twice-annual professional cleanings. During these appointments, we provide your teeth with a thorough cleaning at the same time that we check for any brewing problems with tooth decay.

Early intervention for dental caries is critical, as the longer the decay goes unchecked, the greater your potential for more damage. If we spot a cavity, we can stop the tooth decay in its tracks and plug the hole with a filling to preserve the integrity of your tooth.

If you’d like to learn more about preventing cavities, we invite you to contact our office in Plano, Texas.

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