‘’You have a mouthful of cavities” is something nobody wants to hear their dentist say. Even a single cavity isn’t good news. So, how do you keep that from happening? There’s no mystery about cavities—they are simply holes in your teeth that develop because of bacteria and acid that build up in your mouth. Smaller cavities must be filled; bigger cavities may require a crown or even a root canal if they go too deep. However, you can avoid all the pain, inconvenience, and expense of cavities by incorporating a few simple practices into your daily hygiene routine.
Our best tips to prevent cavities
- Brush at least twice a day, preferably after meals, and right before going to bed, when bacteria tend to thrive. You should use a firm, but not coarse, toothbrush and a fluoride-based toothpaste. Brush thoroughly because debris left on your teeth can end up as a cavity. Remember to rinse your toothbrush when finished to keep it free of bacteria.
- Floss, ideally right after you brush, to remove any remaining food caught between your teeth, especially your bottom teeth. That’s where trapped food particles tend to collect the most, and your toothbrush just can’t reach it. Floss evenly and gently so you don’t irritate the gums. You can buy floss “picks” (little sticks with floss on the end) to get at hard-to-reach back teeth.
- Use an oral irrigator (for example, a water pick) to remove plaque, which is a sticky substance formed by saliva that traps food on the surface of your teeth. It’s what your dental hygienist removes when you go in for a cleaning. Accumulated plaque is a major cause of chronic halitosis (bad breath) because once it hardens on your teeth, it’s challenging to remove.
- Rinse vigorously with a good mouthwash, preferably one that contains fluoride or other anti-cavity agents, after you brush. You should note that alcohol-based mouthwashes can excessively dry your mouth out, and dry mouth is a significant contributor to bacteria growth and periodontal disease. You can also buy mouthwashes that have teeth-whitening agents in them.
- Gently stimulate your gums with plaque removers when you brush or carefully brush your gums with your toothbrush. You can’t have healthy teeth without healthy gums! Gum disease (gingivitis) is a leading cause of dental problems like cavities because they are a breeding ground for germs. Inflamed or swollen gums are the first sign that your gums are in trouble.
- Avoid sugary foods or drinks such as candy and soda. Sugar is the number one enemy of your teeth and it causes the decay that leads to cavities. If you do partake occasionally, brush and rinse soon after so that the sugar doesn’t stay on your teeth too long. (Don’t forget about the sugar you put in tea or coffee!)
- Have a “tooth-friendly” diet that promotes good dental health. For example, calcium, protein, fiber, and certain vitamins like C, D, and E help keep your teeth strong. Dairy, whole grains, lean meats, nuts, eggs, fresh fruits, and leafy greens are good sources of these nutrients and should always be on your grocery list.
- Consider vitamin and mineral supplements to support the nutrients listed above; you may not be getting enough of them in your foods. Potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium are among the essentials for maintaining good bone and tooth health. Always discuss any supplements with your healthcare provider before starting a daily regimen.
- Stay well-hydrated. Bacteria thrive in a dry mouth, so drink up! You don’t have to drink a lot of water all at once—just sip periodically throughout the day. You can also chew sugar-free gum, which promotes saliva production to help keep your mouth from drying out. Good hydration is a necessity for overall good bodily health as well, so it’s a win-win all the way around.
Schedule regular visits to your dentist or hygienist. For most people, the American Dental Association recommends two visits per year to maintain normal, healthy teeth; your dentist may suggest more frequent appointments if you have an ongoing issue.
Seems like a lot to remember? It really isn’t, considering the benefits these simple habits will deliver. And keep in mind that a healthy mouth is important for overall well-being; poor dental hygiene has been linked to a number of serious problems, including cardiovascular disease!
Prevent Cavities, and More!
If you really want to take care of your teeth, The Dental District in Tijuana can help! We’re your comprehensive dental clinic in Tijuana, providing dental implants in Mexico, endodontics in Mexico, dental crowns in Tijuana, braces, fillings, deep cleaning, and other services to help you maintain your healthy, good-looking smile! Our qualified dentist in Tijuana is ready to work with you. Contact us today and let’s get started preventing those cavities!