- What are Cavities? – It’s important to understand what cavities are. Oftentimes, we hear the word and know that they are damaging to our teeth, but what exactly are they? Cavities are holes that form in the enamel of a tooth once decay has started to break down the enamel. Decay comes from the buildup of bacteria over time, also known as plaque, the sticky film that forms on your teeth. Plaque can’t necessarily be prevented, but it can be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent dental decay.
- Brush the Plaque Away– The only way to prevent cavities is by cleaning off the decay forming plaque that naturally occurs in your mouth, every single day. Brushing should be done at least twice daily, for approximately two minutes each time. Be sure when you are brushing that you don’t do it too hard, as this can be damaging to the gums. Brush in a circular motion along the sides of your teeth, and along the gum line. Don’t forget to also brush your tongue to remove any bacteria that may be present, as well. Use a soft bristled toothbrush, or consider investing in an automatic toothbrush for added effectiveness. Your toothbrush should be replaced monthly, ensuring to keep your mouth clean and healthy. Also, store your toothbrush in an area that is free from bacterial exposures from the rest of bathroom.
- Floss Regularly- It is important to floss at least once a day to dislodge any plaque or food that has built up between your teeth. Brushing alone can’t get in between the tight spaces where decay has at a greater chance of occurring. A lot of decay and cavities are usually between the teeth. Flossing can difficult to do between tight spaces. So if you struggle with floss between any of your teeth, consult with your dentist about it.
- Keep your Enamel Strong– The enamel on the outside of your teeth is important to keep strong, and healthy. It’s your first defense against decay and cavities. To help keep your enamel strong, eat a healthy diet high calcium intake, and other enamel strengthening foods. Avoid eating and drinking too many sugary and starchy foods and beverages. Sugars and starches stick to the enamel of your teeth, feeding the bacteria present. Also, try to avoid biting on non-food items, such as pens, plastics, nails, etc. Your teeth are meant for chewing food; not to open items or packages. It is also important to be careful of chewing on hard candies and gummy candies, as well.
- Visit Your Dentist Regularly– Visiting your dentist regularly is important for many reasons. Your dentist will keep ongoing records of your dental health, helping to prevent problems in the future. They will also professionally clean your teeth. Regardless of your own daily cleaning, plaque will still build up. Along with a professional cleaning, the dentist may also include x-rays, allowing them to see all sides of your teeth, diagnosing any cavities that may have developed. In the event of any cavities occurring, the dentist will remove the decay, and fill the cavity hole with a protective filling. The dentist office also has other methods of helping to keep your teeth strong and free from decay, such as fluoride treatments and sealants. You should visit your dentist once every 6 months.
If you would like more information about how to keep cavities away, or to schedule your next visit with us, please feel free to contact us today at: (435) 258-7447.