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Ways to Prevent Getting a Cavity

Your teeth are covered by a sticky coating of bacteria called plaque. When you eat, the bacteria turn the sugars and starches into acid. If the acid stays on your teeth long enough, it can break down the enamel of your teeth and eventually cause holes, or cavities

If left untreated, the acid can work its way through a tooth until it attacks the nerves and blood vessels in the center of the tooth. The result can cause pain, interfere with the tooth’s ability to function normally, and potentially lead to tooth loss.

Cavity prevention is your best protection against tooth loss and other oral health problems. In this blog, Trent W. Smallwood, DDS, of the Centre for Contemporary Dental Concepts in Tempe, Arizona, explains what you can do to best protect your teeth. 

Use a proper brushing technique

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing for two minutes two times per day and flossing once daily. However, it’s important to ensure that your brushing technique and toothbrush deliver the desired results.

Proper brushing technique isn’t forceful or aggressive. Begin by holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. Then, apply gentle pressure as you move the brush back and forth. Avoid sweeping strokes and concentrate on one tooth at a time. 

Tilt your toothbrush vertically against your teeth when cleaning their inside surfaces. Gently brush up and down on each tooth. 

Use a soft toothbrush that fits comfortably in your mouth. Replace your manual toothbrush or the head of your electric toothbrush every 3-4 months or sooner if you notice signs of wear.

Avoid brushing right after meals. The ADA advises waiting at least an hour after eating before you brush. Brushing sooner may force acid into your teeth. To clean your mouth right after eating, rinse your mouth with water. 

Limit cavity-causing foods

You can reduce your risk of developing cavities by limiting the amount of sugary foods you eat. Sugar feeds the development of plaque and acid. 

Sticky candies can do the most damage, because they can remain on your teeth for a long time. Beverages with added sugars, such as some fruit juices and sodas, can also leave a film of sugar on your teeth.

Limit your consumption of refined carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, and chips. This is because any parts of these foods that remain in your mouth will become simple sugars as they break down, which can increase your risk of developing cavities.

Consume foods that fight cavities

You can help prevent getting cavities by eating foods that can naturally help you fight cavities.

Fruits and vegetables

Crunchy fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, apples, and celery, are effective at increasing saliva production. Saliva helps to neutralize cavity-causing acid and wash away food debris from your teeth.

Foods rich in calcium, vitamin D, and phosphates

Foods that contain calcium, vitamin D, and phosphates can also help keep your teeth healthy. These foods, which include cheese, milk, and other dairy products, can fortify your teeth and help protect them from damaging acids.

Foods that have phosphorus

Protein-rich foods, such as meat, nuts, legumes, and eggs, contain phosphorus, and phosphorus helps your body utilize calcium effectively.

Foods that contain polyphenols

Green and black tea contain polyphenols, which have been shown to inhibit the growth of oral bacteria.

Sugarless chewing gum

Chewing sugarless gum can also help keep your teeth healthy. The gum can help rinse acid from your teeth and preserve your tooth enamel. The xylitol in sugarless gum can also delay the growth of Streptococcus mutaris, the oral bacteria that contributes to plaque formation.

Schedule regular professional cleanings

Support your daily efforts to prevent cavities by scheduling regular dental exams and cleanings. This can help identify any tooth or gum issues before they worsen. 

Regular dental exams can also allow Dr. Smallwood to determine whether preventive treatments, such as supplemental fluoride, may be necessary. 

If appropriate, Dr. Smallwood may recommend rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash to reduce bacteria in your mouth. This may be helpful if your mouth is prone to bacteria due to a chronic medical condition or the effects of a medication.

To learn more ways to prevent cavities and maintain good oral health, book an appointment online or over the phone with the Centre for Contemporary Dental Concepts today.

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