Are you particularly prone to cavities despite your regular oral health regimen? Luckily, there are a few extra tricks you can try to help protect your teeth from decay! To keep your teeth in great condition, try the five following cavity-fighting methods.
1. Avoid munching on sugary foods (including dried fruit!).
When you eat foods that are high in sugar content, the bacteria in plaque feast on the sugars in your food. After they metabolize the sugars, the bacteria begin to release harmful acids onto the surface of your teeth. This process (known as an “acid attack”) slowly wears away at your dental enamel and causes decay. The amount of damage done to your teeth is directly proportional to the amount of sugar you consume. Therefore, if you consume more and more sugary foods, the number of acid attacks on your teeth will increase. Ultimately, eating these sugary foods such as candy, sodas, dried fruit, etc. puts your dental enamel at risk for cavities, so it is best to avoid them when possible!
2. Avoid snacking all day.
You may be surprised to learn that frequent snacking throughout the day can actually be more harmful to your teeth than if you were to stick to three meals a day. When you increase the number of times you eat in a day, it also increases the number of acid attacks that occur on your teeth. To minimize your risk of cavities, try cutting back on sugary drinks and replace them with water. If you’re really hungry for a snack between meals, be sure to replace unhealthy snacks with healthy fruits and vegetables. When you do eat these healthy snacks, be sure to brush your teeth immediately afterwards.
3. Floss daily—really!
Cavities most often occur between your teeth, as this is where food gets trapped. When food is left between your teeth for long periods of time, the bacteria have more opportunity to release acids that attack your dental enamel. Therefore, by flossing daily, you can remove the food particles from those hard-to-reach places in your mouth and keep your teeth cavity-free!
4. Brush your teeth within 20 minutes of the first bite of your meal or snack.
It would be very difficult to eliminate sugar from your diet completely—even fruit has sugar in it!—so your teeth may still be at risk of getting cavities even when you maintain a healthy diet. For this reason, it is still important to brush your teeth after you eat in order to prevent cavities. The process of bacteria releasing acids on your teeth begins around 20 minutes after your first bite. Therefore, it is important that you brush your teeth within this window of time in order to wash away bacteria and prevent the decaying process before it can begin.
5. Visit the dentist every six months.
According to the Center for Disease Control, an estimated 23.7% of American adults have untreated cavities. The best way to prevent and treat cavities is to visit your dentist every six months for a routine cleaning and check-up. At each appointment, your dentist will examine each of your teeth to look for cavities. They can also provide treatments that fight cavities such as dental sealants. By maintaining these regular appointments, you can keep your teeth and gums in great health.
To prevent cavities and protect your oral heal, call Oak Park Dental Group to set up your appointment today.