Alexandria, VA 22311
Understanding the Causes of Cavities
First, in order to understand how to prevent cavities you should understand what causes cavities. Cavities are caused by a byproduct of bacteria, acid. Your mouth and toothbrush are full of bacteria. Once the bacteria produces acid it begins to erode tooth enamel, thus creating a cavity. By having a better understanding of what causes cavities you will be able to better safeguard your teeth from the destruction that cavities can cause. Your teeth need to have routine maintenance done in order to prevent cavities.
Reducing Your Chance of Getting Cavities
The best way to reduce and prevent cavities is by practicing good oral hygiene. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) it is important to follow these guidelines in order to prevent cavities.
- Brush your teeth a minimum of twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.
- Brush for 2-3 minutes each time you brush.
- Use floss or an interdental cleaner (such as a water flosser) daily. Flossing removes the plaque and food particles in between the teeth that can become stuck, causing bacteria to build up, and lead to tooth decay. Floss reaches where toothbrush bristles cannot (nearly 35%), underline gum line and in between teeth.
- Maintain a healthy and balanced diet
- Limit the amount of snack that is done in between meals.
- Schedule regular visits to your dentist for a professional cleaning and oral exams.
Additional Ways to Prevent Cavities
- Some people may be at a higher risk than others for oral health issues. Often times a dentist will recommend rinsing your mouth with a fluoride rinse after meals to help remove bacteria and food particles in your mouth.
- Clean or replace your tooth brush regularly. Toothbrushes should be replaced when the bristles show signs of wear or every three to four months. Children’s toothbrushes tend to need replacing more frequently. Violife is another option for killing lingering bacteria that stays on your tooth brush, but it is still recommended that toothbrushes are replaced every few months.
- Dental sealants can also be used to help prevent cavities. Dental sealant is a protective coating that a dentist can apply to the molars. This fills in the grooves on the back teeth and prevents food from collecting there. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sealants are recommended for school-age children and can last up to ten years before they need to be replaced. By having regular dental check-ups a dentist can see if the sealant is still intact or if it needs to be replaced.
Why Good Oral Hygiene Is So Important
Your teeth are not only something that makes a smile much more attractive it also helps with speech, the structure of the face as well as the jaw structure. The bacteria that is left on teeth can create serious oral health issues such as gingivitis or more severe gum disease. By brushing after every meal, flossing daily and having regular checkups with your dentist you can have healthy teeth and gums and beautiful smile that you can be proud of.