You’ve likely heard of them, and since they affect over 90% of adults, you may already have one. If so, then you might wonder if preventing cavities is possible to avoid having to deal with another one. The truth is that despite their widespread occurrence, the best way to prevent cavities is through regular dental visits and excellent dental hygiene at home. If you do develop a cavity, the seek treatment as soon as possible to minimize the damage it causes to your tooth.
Know What You’re Dealing With
Before you can prevent a cavity, you have to understand what it is and how it forms. The beginning can be traced back to the plaque and tartar that cling to your teeth. The oral bacteria that form plaque and cling to your teeth can systematically weaken your teeth’s protective layer of enamel. Then, the bacteria can infect your tooth’s main structure, causing tooth decay and a cavity as it spreads through the tooth.
Tips to Prevent Tooth Decay and Cavities
Since oral bacteria are the cause of cavities, controlling them should be the focus of your preventive efforts.
- Be sure to thoroughly (but carefully) brush your teeth at least twice every day, and floss at least once. Floss first so you can brush away the food particles that your dental floss removes.
- Sugar is a significant contributor to cavity development. It and other carbs feed oral bacteria, which convert it into acid to weaken your tooth enamel. Limit how often you snack throughout the day, particularly on sweets, and save sugary foods and beverages for larger meals.
- Drink plenty of water. Oral bacteria and the acid they produce are neutralized by water and saliva, and drinking plenty of water throughout the day will keep your mouth and body properly hydrated.
- Attend a checkup and cleaning appointment as often as your dentist recommends. Regular visits allow your dentist to ensure that your teeth remain cavity-free, or treat a cavity early if it develops to help you avoid extensive tooth damage.