Preventing Cavities: A Dentist's GuidePreventing cavities is important. Left untreated, cavities can damage your teeth, cause pain in your mouth, and lead to bigger oral health problems. By following the steps below, you can protect your teeth and avoid cavities.

How do you get a cavity?

Cavities are holes in a tooth’s outer surface (called the enamel). Also known as tooth decay, cavities cause permanent damage to your teeth. Left untreated, cavities lead to toothaches, infections in your mouth, and tooth loss. Treating cavities may require fillings, root canals, or adding a crown. In severe cases, a tooth may have to be removed.

Cavities are formed when plaque is left on your teeth. Plaque forms when you eat or drink sugary or starchy foods and don’t clean your teeth properly. The acids contained in plaque damage your enamel, which leads to a cavity. In extreme cases, plaque can damage the lower levels of a tooth.

There are several things you can do to avoid cavities:

Brush your teeth regularly

Make sure to brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste after every meal and before bed.  Brushing your teeth will remove bacteria and keep your mouth and gums clean. Make sure that you brush long enough and use a proper brushing technique. Your dentist can show you how to brush properly and recommend the best toothbrush for you.

Floss every day

Brushing your teeth alone isn’t enough. Brushing will clean the front, back, and tops of your teeth. But it won’t clean the sides. To clean these hard to reach areas, you need to floss every day. Proper flossing will make sure that your entire tooth is clean and will prevent cavities.

Use mouthwash

Adding an antibacterial mouthwash will help with preventing cavities as well. When used properly, mouthwash can kill bacteria and freshen your breath. Dr. Denison can recommend the best option for you.

Eat healthy foods

Another way to avoid cavities is to eat balanced and nutritious meals. Unhealthy foods with sugars and carbohydrates will remain on your teeth after you finish eating. Avoid unhealthy snacking as well. If you eat these foods, make sure to brush your teeth afterward.

Cut out sugary and acidic drinks

In addition to limiting unhealthy foods, limit your intake of sugary or acidic drinks. Over time, drinking too much soda, coffee, and other sugary drinks can lead to plaque buildup. To avoid problems, try to drink less of these drinks. If you drink one of these drinks, drink some water or brush your teeth after you finish.

Visit your dentist regularly

Having a dental examination and cleaning every six months will help you prevent cavities. This step is important for two reasons:

First, your teeth will be professionally cleaned. Your dentist (or dental hygienist) will give your teeth a full cleaning, including areas that you may have missed or are hard to clean. This cleaning will get rid of any plaque or other buildup that may cause cavities.

Second, your dentist (or dental hygienist) will also check your regular oral care routine. They can teach you new techniques to help you brush your teeth or floss properly. They can also suggest new products to improve your oral health, such as an electric toothbrush or a new toothpaste.

With just a little work, you can prevent cavities!

Preventing cavities requires you to do a little work every day. but it’s worth it to keep a beautiful smile. By avoiding sugary or acidic food and drink, regularly brushing and flossing, and seeing your dentist every six months, you can keep your mouth cavity-free. Request your appointment at Denison Family & Cosmetic Dentistry today!