Written on Thursday, Mar 10, 2022
Did you know that you can do more to prevent cavities than just brushing your teeth? While brushing your teeth is a key part of dental hygiene, it’s just one piece. You may be more likely to develop cavities based on your genetics and dietary habits as well.
Cavities are among the most common health conditions in the American population. In fact, tooth decay is second only to the common cold in terms of how common it is.
You might be surprised to know that tooth decay is classified as an infectious disease. This is because it is caused by bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria create plaque, which builds up on your teeth and gums. It breaks down the enamel coating your teeth, leaving the interior exposed.
Over 25% of all adults throughout the US have cavities. Over half of all teenagers have also had cavities at some point.
Brushing and flossing daily are important to prevent cavities. Doing this removes plaque from the surface of and between the teeth. It’s also important to get regular professional cleanings from a dentist. These cleanings remove plaque and tartar that your toothbrush can’t quite get.
But most people already know that they should brush and floss to prevent cavities. What other things should you be aware of?
Not all mouths are the same. Some people are at a higher risk of developing cavities thanks to genetics and diet. In addition, it’s hard to prevent cavities if you have unfilled cavities already. Unfilled cavities alter the acidic balance of your mouth, making tooth decay more common.
The easiest way to find out about your personal risk level is by seeing a dentist. At Carolina Dental Arts, we can help you assess your risk and follow the hygiene path that’s right for you.
Your cavity risk also tells you how often you should see a dentist. As a general rule, most people should see dentists every six months at least.
The right toothbrush makes a big difference if you want to prevent cavities.
It’s a good idea to invest in a motorized toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes have been shown to remove more plaque on average than manual ones.
If you do have a manual toothbrush, make sure it has soft bristles. Harsh brushes can irritate your gums. You should also replace the head of your toothbrush every few months, once the bristles start to become worn down.
Brushing only takes a few minutes per day, and yet it is extremely effective to prevent cavities. It’s a good idea to brush after eating a meal, as this keeps food from getting stuck. You should also brush before bed to remove any lingering food waste.
You might also consider using an antibacterial mouthwash before bed. This isn’t a replacement for brushing. But it can work well combined with brushing. It helps to kill more of the bacteria in your mouth that toothpaste hasn’t.
Sugary drinks are a big part of the typical American diet. Whether sodas or fruit juice, we love to have something sweet with a meal. There’s no need to stop having sugary drinks entirely, but cutting back can help prevent cavities.
Of course, this will depend on the person as well. If you already don’t eat much extra sugar, you probably don’t need to make any lifestyle changes.
It’s not just sugar, either. Coffee and tea can both accelerate the process of tooth decay. That’s because of the acid levels in the liquid. When you drink acidic beverages, you should try to finish them within about 20 minutes.
Another issue is that sugary additives remain in your saliva for a while. So even after you’ve finished a sugary soda, the substance remains in your mouth.
How can you counteract this? One of the best ways is by drinking more water. When you drink water, you rinse sugar and other chemicals out of your mouth.
You can also prevent cavities by drinking liquids through a straw. This will keep acid and sugar away from your enamel.
One of the best ways to prevent cavities is by having regular cleanings. We here at Carolina Dental Arts serve clients throughout the North Carolina area. Feel free to reach out and make an appointment at any of our Raleigh, Durham, or Goldsboro locations today!