From the time you’re old enough to know what “going to the dentist” is, you’ve probably heard about what you need to do to prevent cavities. Cavities are small holes in the enamel of your teeth, and they allow bacteria to enter and reach the soft dentin of your teeth.
Eventually, those bacteria can cause infection, and that can lead to a host of health issues. Your best bet is to avoid allowing the cavities to form at all. At Goodman Dental Group, Dr. Brian Goodman and Dr. Tanner Goodman are happy to provide white fillings should you need them. However, we’d rather you not have cavities to begin with! Here are our best tips to help you prevent cavities.
Pay attention to how you brush
How often do you mindlessly brush your teeth, quickly, without paying much attention to what you’re doing? The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests you should brush for at least two minutes, at least twice per day, in addition to flossing once. Using a good technique to brush and using the right kind of brush are crucial in order for it to be effective in protecting your teeth.
Scrubbing hard isn’t the way to go. Instead, hold your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gum line. Gently, brush back and forth. Focus on one tooth at a time, and try not to make sweeping strokes.
When you brush the inside surfaces of your teeth, turn your brush vertical, and use a gentle up and down motion.
Choose a brush that has soft bristles and that fits the size of your mouth. Replace your brush every three to four months or when you begin to notice signs of wear, like fraying.
You may think brushing right after you eat could help protect your teeth, but the ADA recommends waiting at least an hour. If you do need to brush right after you eat, rinse your mouth with water first.
Avoid the harmful foods
Sugary foods are bad for your teeth because the bacteria that lead to cavities thrive on sugar. Limit the amount of sugary foods and beverages you consume to protect your teeth.
Sticky candy that clings to your teeth for a long time after you eat it can be particularly damaging. Fruit juices, sodas, and other drinks high in sugar can also leave a film of sugar on your teeth.
Bread, pasta, chips, and other processed, refined carbohydrates may also be harmful to your dental health. As those foods break down they become simple sugars and that, too, can raise your risk of developing cavities.
Eat more of the good stuff
Some foods naturally help prevent cavities. Eat more of these to improve your dental health.
Fruits and vegetables
Carrots, apples, celery, and other crunchy fruits and vegetables cause more saliva production. When you have more saliva, it washes away the food debris that can lead to cavities.
Calcium, vitamin D, and phosphates
Cheese, milk, and other dairy products may help fortify your teeth and help protect them. Aim for foods that contain calcium, vitamin D, and phosphates.
Foods that are rich in protein, like meat, nuts, legumes, and eggs contain phosphorus. Phosphorus makes it easier for your body to use calcium, an essential nutrient for healthy teeth.
Enjoy chewing sugarless gum
Gum helps rinse away the harmful substances on your teeth, and can help you maintain good dental health. The xylitol in sugarless gum may also delay the growth of a specific bacteria that contributes to plaque formation.
Get professional cleanings regularly
Excellent dental hygiene at home is a key to good oral health; however, it can only take you so far. You also need regular professional cleanings to remove the plaque that builds up, no matter how often or thoroughly you brush.
In addition to keeping your teeth healthy, during regular cleanings, the providers at Goodman Dental Center check for any signs of problems and recommend any necessary preventive treatments. Schedule your next dental cleaning today, by phone or online.