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Damn, do I have cavities!? The hours of munching over sweets and not brushing teeth properly unfortunately paid off, huh? Read on to know how to prevent cavities by 13 different methods!
How to Prevent Cavities?
Oral health often goes ignored unless one starts to have serious problems like cavities1, severe tooth pain, and chewing issues.
Keeping our teeth healthy does not take much effort, but ignorance can lead to issues that form with time and can also lead to permanent damage. So, to save you from issues like cavities, which are easily avoidable, we are here with a complete guide on how to prevent cavities.
From how to prevent cavities and even reverse them, this article will help you enlighten about your teeth, for which there is a fair chance you might be in need.
How are Cavities Formed?
Eating or drinking sugary food items causes them to stick in the pits of our teeth, usually in the molars on the outer upper surface of tooth enamel (the topmost layer of the tooth).
It causes the bacteria in our mouth to make acids frequently, which leads to dental plaque 2formation – the earliest stage of a cavity.
If this plaque is not removed by proper brushing and flossing, it further hardens to form dental tartar or calculus.
The plaque removes the minerals on the enamel, leading to the formation of white spots- which are often easy for a dentist to notice, but hard for common people to notice, making it difficult to avoid cavities.
Then, it spreads into the dentin- the second, softer tooth layer, that is less acid-resistant. The dentin has tubes connected with nerves and the decay then spreads to the pulp, which contains the blood vessels and nerves.
Causes and Symptoms of Dental Cavity
There are many causes of dental cavities, like the consumption of sugary foods and a lack of fluoride. One major cause is GERD 3(gastroesophageal reflux disease), also known as heartburn, where the acid in the stomach flows into the mouth and leads to tooth decay.
To know more, you can read the causes of cavities.
The cavities or tooth decay symptoms include chewing problems, tooth pain, swelling, pus around the tooth, broken teeth, positioning shifts of teeth, and eventually tooth loss.
13 Ways to Prevent Cavities-
1. Brush your teeth
Brushing is the best possible way to prevent tooth decay process. It is a simple and effective method to prevent tooth decay.
To prevent cavities, the dentist recommends brushing twice daily and also after every meal, if possible, using a toothpaste containing fluoride.
Although there is fluoride-containing toothpaste available in the market, some don’t, fluoride 4is an essential factor in ensuring better oral health, so one might better check and use toothpaste accordingly.
People often use too much toothpaste, but the ideal amount is said to be pea-sized paste on the brush as more paste can go down the throat and, with time, if consumed often, can lead to dental fluorosis and since paste leads to foam in our mouth, one might not be able to brush effectively.
The right way includes using a soft bristle toothbrush that you change every 3 to 4 months, using less pressure. One can also use electric brushes since they are better, but a normal one is also not bad.
The best way to brush is in circles and not vertically in a harsh manner since it can lead to bleeding gums. Brushing from the back removes food and acid from the back of the teeth and on the surface of the molars or the back teeth since it has pits where plaques usually start forming.
As much as cleaning the teeth, cleaning the tongue is also essential. It removes the bacteria from the tongue and solves your bad breath issue.
2. Use a Mouthwash
A safe method to get food out of your teeth after having a hearty meal is to use a mouth rinse with fluoride.
It not only helps to get the small food bits left between teeth to get out smoothly, but it also helps in addressing bad breath as it refreshes the mouth, increases fluoride, and adds more minerals.
At present, there are many antimicrobial mouth rinses available that one can choose from, and it clinically helps in reducing the cavity.
3. Visit your Dentist Regularly
If you also have a busy lifestyle and cannot take the time and care to ensure your teeth are cavity-free, you can visit your dentist and get regular dental checkups.
Dentists can help to detect early tooth decay, and you can help prevent them.
You can also get personalized ideas from your dentist on how to keep your teeth clean and healthy, like if you should use supplementary fluoride and tips to floss or brush effectively.
4. Get Dental Sealants
Dental sealant is a thin, plastic coating applied to the chewing or the biting surface of the molars so that the pits in the teeth where food usually gets stuck, leading to acid formation, get sealed.
It is a common practice for school-age children to get dental sealants, given that they are at risk of having cavities because sealants 5will last for years. However, adults can also opt for the same procedure.
It is a good option, but one needs to regularly visit the dentist if opting for dental sealants.
5. Drink More Water
You must be thinking how can drinking water aid to prevent cavities. Fluoride helps in fighting bacteria and replaces mineral loss. It can be commonly found in many types of toothpaste and drinking water.
In many public water supplies, fluoride is added, but since it can be contaminated in many other parts of the world, one can opt for bottled water, but it needs to be checked since many don’t contain fluoride.
Water also helps wash down the food particles stuck in our mouths when we have sugary foods and drinks, reducing the decay formation.
6. Avoiding Sugary Drinks and Food
Proper nutrition goes a long way in maintaining oral health and reducing the tooth decay process.
People like to eat or drink sugary foods, hard candy. People eating snacks frequently also develop a habit of consuming hard candies and other sugar food items, including drinks.
Eating sugary foods or sugary drinks makes it easy for bacteria to produce acid, which erodes enamel with time.
Although our saliva balances the acid and removal of sugar, frequent snacking can lead to repeated sugar and starch deposition in molars’ enamel pits, especially if the snacks are sweet.
The list of foods including sugar includes soda, fruit juice, and acidic drinks like tea and coffee. Fruit juice- is something that people often confuse with a non-harmful substance, but it affects our oral health immensely.
Tea and coffee are acidic and often have sugar and milk, which increases the risk. but it is almost impossible to even think of cutting them out, so, one can try to rinse their mouth 20 minutes maximum after consuming them for minimal harm or drink it with a straw to keep them away from the teeth.
Eating sugar before sleeping combined with not brushing after dinner is an invitation to tooth decay, as saliva is at our weakest during sleep leaving the teeth more vulnerable.
Nutritional foods and snacks, and following a healthy diet help prevent plaque. Drinking water instead of snacking can be a good replacement since drinking water containing fluoride gets rid of existing bacterial formation in teeth.
Some healthy foods include- unsweetened tea and coffee (which will not harm but rather help in washing down food stuck in the mouth), brushing after consuming foods which have chances of getting stuck in between teeth like ladyfinger, and increasing fruit consumption (since it increases saliva flow).
7. Floss Daily
Flossing is a bit time-consuming, but the benefits are immense. If it helps, one can do other tasks when flossing to not get bored, like watching TV.
Flossing ensures that no food debris is left in between your teeth, which is a major cause of tooth decay since certain foods can lead to bacteria formation in those areas.
It usually helps to clean between your teeth and not only the front teeth but also the back teeth to prevent tooth damage, resulting to prevent cavities.
Flossing or an interdental brush ensures the removal of all the food debris from the mouth.
8. No Smoking or Tobacco
One is not unaware of the harms of smoking or eating tobacco. If you are trying to have healthy teeth and gums and have a smoking/tobacco addiction, your dentist might recommend you quit.
Amongst many other medical issues, smoking and tobacco use do a lot more to your teeth than just staining. It can lead to gum disease, tooth loss, and even oral cancer.
9. Chew Gums (Sugarless)
Sugar-free gum is not only an effective exercise for your gums but chewing gums, specifically sugarless, can help in increasing saliva flow which further helps in reducing bacteria and tooth decay.
According to American Dental Association, one can use Wringley’s Orbit, quip, Trident 6or any other gum approved by their dental hygienist.
10. Increase Fluoride Consumption
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that reverses cavity and tooth decay. Enough fluoride adds minerals to the mouth that fight the ability of bacteria in making acids.
For additional fluoride for preventing cavities, one can use fluoride toothpaste and drinking water. People who use only bottled water, need to make sure it contains fluoridated water, since many don’t.
Other methods for supplemental fluoride include- the use of fluoride gel or varnish, tablets, and mouthwash. One can also get fluoride treatments as explained below.
11. Get Fluoride Treatments
One can have periodic fluoride treatments. Your dentist might recommend using tap water more than a bottle since it usually lacks fluoridated water.
Dentists can also recommend custom trays over teeth to apply prescription fluoride if one has a chance of having cavities.
12. Get Anti-Bacterial Treatments
If one has more than normal bacterial formation on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, they can get an anti-bacterial mouth rinse as recommended by their dentist or any other treatment to reduce the risk of cavities.
13. Get Combined Treatments
After consulting their dentist one can opt for chewing xylitol-based gum, prescription fluoride, and an antibacterial rinse. All can help in effective disease control and cavity prevention by controlling harmful bacteria in the mouth.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What causes cavities in teeth?
Following eating, bacteria degrade the sugars in your meal into acid. The acid erodes the enamel on your teeth. If the degradation penetrates the protective enamel, a hole or cavity may emerge.
2. Do fillings hurt?
The plus side is that filling a cavity is typically a painless treatment that can assist to ease discomfort.
3. Can cavities go away permanently?
Once a cavity starts to develop, it will not stop. It will necessitate a filling or other sort of treatment.
Hence it can be easily concluded that the development of the cavity is slow, but its reversal or prevention can be easy with better precautions and prevention. Our mouth is an entry gate to our body and should be better taken care of and not taken for granted. So, it is important to prevent cavities.
Hopefully, this article was helpful for you in knowing about and maintaining your and your family’s oral health as to how to prevent cavities. Keep smiling bright!
Dr. Foram Bhuta
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