10 ways to prevent cavities in teeth
By using the following techniques, you can help keep your teeth healthy to fight off cavities. Cavities cause an array of dental problems that may end up requiring restorative treatments.
Keep your teeth healthy and reduce the number of restorative dental visits you may require by following these tips.
1. Proper oral hygiene routine
Regular brushing and flossing can help to remove built-up plaque and bacteria from the teeth, gums and tongue. When left on the teeth, plaque will slowly eat away at the tooth’s enamel, creating cavities.
For this reason, it is important to use the appropriate cleaning methods to remove as much plaque as possible. This means, brushing twice daily and flossing once daily using the correct flossing and tooth brushing techniques.
2. Stay hydrated
As you may know, bacteria are harmful for our teeth. They produce an acid by-product as they consume food debris in our mouths. This acid then dissolves our tooth’s enamel.
Drinking water helps to promote saliva production which washes away bacteria from the mouth. As well, it can dilute the acid produced by bacteria, thereby reducing its effects.
Tip: Try not to drink lemon infused water as it is acidic and can cause damage your teeth. If you must drink lemon water, avoid sipping on it and rinse your mouth with water afterwards.
3. Eat foods high in minerals
Our teeth require beneficial minerals to stay strong and healthy. However, due to their porous nature they continuously lose and gain minerals. To keep them healthy we must ensure they are receiving more minerals than they lose. Our teeth achieve this through remineralisation.
Mineral rich foods include:
- Green vegetables
- Yogurt (sugar free)
4. Reduce your sugar intake
Sugar is the primary food source for bacteria and like a vicious cycle, the more we consume the more bacteria grow.
By reducing our sugar intake, we can limit bacteria food supply considerably. Less bacteria means our teeth are more protected from the destructive acid they produce.
You might be thinking, “Does this include natural sugars such as fruit?” In short, yes. It is not just refined sugars which cause harm to our teeth. However, the trick is in the way we consume sugary foods.
When you eat something sugary, eat it as part of a meal. Preferably, the meal should contain healthy fats to help slow digestion and create a consistent uptake of sugars. This way, our blood sugars don’t spike and stress our systems.
Tip: Limit your intake of highly acidic fruits such as lemons, oranges, grapes, mangos and apples.
5. Use fluoride toothpaste
For individuals over the age of 6, fluoride toothpaste can help to strengthen tooth enamel. It does this by combining with calcium and phosphate to create a stronger surface which is more resistant to decay.
Tip: Wait at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth after eating or drinking (excluding water). This gives the tooth enamel time to recover from the acidity in our meals.
6. Avoid snacking
By continuously eating throughout the day, we provide a constant food source for the bacteria in our mouths. Further, snacks containing carbohydrates and sugars stop our teeth from absorbing minerals through remineralisation.
Tip: If you snack, be sure to choose foods that are low in starches and sugar.
7. Chew sugar-free gum
Sugar-free gum helps to promote saliva production which washes away bacteria and debris from the mouth. As well, if you are out, gum can be a good alternative to brushing your teeth after a meal.
8. Ask for dental sealants
Dental sealants or fissure seals are plastic coatings which are placed on the chewing surface of a tooth. By closing the area off from bacteria, it helps protect the chewing surface from cavities.
The fissures (groves in teeth) are usually filled because they are too deep or narrow to clean properly. This can lead to a build up of plaque in the grooves which can develop into a cavity.
Normally, dental sealants are placed in children. However, adults at risk of cavities can also have them placed as an extra line of defence.
9. Stay on top of digestion
Gastrointestinal disorders such as reflux can affect your teeth by passing acids from the stomach into the mouth. The chemical reaction of stomach acids on the teeth can be significant.
Further, medications to assist or reduce digestion symptoms may be harmful to teeth. For example, prescriptions for Crohn’s disease can cause gingivitis, tongue inflammation and dry mouth.
10. Visit the dentist every 6 months
Most importantly, visit the dentist every 6 months. Regular visits to the dentists can help assist the early detection of oral diseases, decay and irregularities.
A dental check-up and clean further removes substances such as tartar which cannot be removed by a toothbrush alone. As well, your dentist will be able to give you dental advice and show you areas in your oral hygiene routine that may need improvement.
Stay on top of oral health and book in for your 6-monthly dental visit today!
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