91% of all Americans over the age of 20 have, or have had, cavities at some point in their lives. This number indicates a serious issue with the dental health and hygiene of our nation’s young people. In order to combat that number, you need to know how important it is to keep your teeth healthy.
That’s why we’ve written this guide about how to prevent cavities. Keep reading to learn how to stop cavities in their tracks and take back your dental health today.
The Importance of Dental Hygiene
First, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of daily brushing and flossing. Every day, plaque forms in your mouth and collects around your teeth. This plaque is made up of bacteria that can eat the enamel off of your teeth and eventually cause cavities.
Not only are cavities painful, but they can also lead to tooth decay and loss. The dental work involved in saving a badly infected tooth is both costly and painful. But it doesn’t just stop with your mouth.
Heart disease is linked to poor dental health as well. And when your teeth hurt, your ability to eat properly to get the right nutrition goes down drastically. Your dental hygiene is intrinsically linked to the rest of your health.
Start Brushing Early
The best course of action for preventing cavities is to introduce brushing at an early age. It’s a good idea to get your child interested in brushing before they have teeth.
Use a finger brush to gently sweep your child’s gums in the morning and at night. Not only does this get them used to the foreign object in their mouth, but it helps you establish an oral hygiene routine early.
When their first tooth breaks through the gums, find a pediatric dentist and start their regular checkups as soon as possible.
Limit Sugary Food and Drinks
It’s no secret that sugary food and drinks are a leading cause of cavities. But completely avoiding sugar in your diet is nearly impossible. Luckily, there are a few things you can do that will lessen the impact of sugary food and drink on your teeth.
Don’t Brush Immediately After Eating Sugary Things
Your natural instinct may tell you to brush your teeth immediately after eating. However, if you don’t want long enough after you eat something sugary to brush your teeth, you’re actually causing more harm than you think.
You should actually wait between 30 and 60 minutes to brush your teeth after eating something sugary. As soon as that sugar hits your teeth, it starts to weaken the enamel. If you brush too soon, you risk removing that weakened enamel.
Also, the enzymes in your saliva haven’t had a chance to break down the sugar in your mouth yet. So, you’re introducing that sugar to all of your teeth rather than the localized area.
Drink Through a Straw
One of the best things for your dental health is water. Skip the sugary drinks and stick with water as often as possible. If you absolutely have to have your sugary drinks, drink them through a straw.
Drinking through a straw can help bypass enamel damage on your front teeth and limit the amount done to your back teeth.
Xylitol gum has been proven to actually help prevent cavities. Other kinds of gum are packed with sugar or other substances that are harmful to your teeth. But gum made with the artificial sweetener xylitol actually helps break down cavity-causing bacteria.
Xylitol doesn’t allow bacteria to grow, so continued use can actually lower the number of bacteria in your mouth overtime!
Go to Bi-Yearly Checkups
One of the most important things you can do to help prevent cavities is going to the dentist every six months, or as your dentist recommends.
Every six months, a hygenist will give your mouth a thorough deep cleaning. They can help get stubborn plaque off of your teeth and will often treat you with something for long-term protection against bacteria.
Also, every six months to a year, you’ll get fresh dental x-rays. These x-rays are crucial for spotting cavities that are deep in your tooth where your dentist won’t be able to see them. This allows them to fix small issues before they become huge (and expensive) ones.
Studies have shown that electric toothbrushes actually get rid of more plaque than manual toothbrushes do. Standard electric toothbrushes have vibrations and bristles that are designed to get into tough-to-reach spots. Some more advanced ones actually tell you what quadrant of your mouth to brush in and whether or not you’re brushing too hard or too soft.
Another thing to consider investing in is a water flosser. These connect to a water source and allow you to use forced water to clean the spaces between your teeth better than a regular flosser.
How to Prevent Cavities for Healthy Teeth for Life!
Now you know some of the basic tips and tricks for how to prevent cavities. A lot of dental issues can be genetic, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t play a huge role in protecting your oral hygiene. If you don’t go to your hygiene appointments or limit the number of sugary things you eat, you’re asking for cavities!
Follow these tips to make sure that you keep cavities at bay. It’s the best way to ensure that you can keep your teeth healthy for life.
For more information about how you can work to live your best life today, keep reading!