How to Help Prevent Cavities: 4 Must-Do's to Protect Those Pearly Whites
By Jaime Hollander
More than nine in ten U.S. adults have had at least one cavity in their lives, the majority of which can be linked back to lax brushing and overall oral hygiene. That may sound surprisingly high, but you can decrease your likelihood of getting cavities now and in the future by focusing on your dental health to prevent plaque, enamel loss and tooth decay.
So, what causes cavities? Eating and drinking over the course of a given day provides the nutrition that the bacteria in plaque need to grow in your mouth. If not removed by brushing and flossing, plaque can form, and acids in the plaque can begin to break down enamel, causing weak spots in the teeth which can develop into cavities.
How can you prevent cavities? While most adults have at least some tooth decay, it’s easier than ever to help prevent.
- Curb your sweet tooth: Sugary and starchy foods can be a major contributor to the development of cavities. Sodas, fruit juices and energy drinks containing sugar are some of the worst cavity triggers -- eliminating these alone can have a significant impact on your oral health. If you do eat sugary or starchy foods or drink sugary drinks, make sure to brush twice a day, floss, and rinse with a fluoride mouthwash. With a good oral care routine, you'll help prevent plaque buildup and future cavities.
- Go to the dentist regularly: According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), about one in four American adults has at least one untreated cavity. Be sure you’re maintaining annual or twice-annual dentist checkups so any cavities can be treated. What’s more, your dentist may be able to offer you recommendations on how you can care for your mouth to help prevent plaque from building up on teeth.
- Brush twice a day: Be sure to brush with a fluoride toothpaste twice daily, and rinse with mouthwash as directed. Additionally, daily flossing will help remove food particles and plaque build up from teeth, helping to prevent cavities and keeping your entire mouth cleaner and healthier.
- Drink water: Water won’t stop cavities, but it will help wash away food particles and bacteria in your mouth. What's more some communities have fluoridated drinking water, which can help curb cavities.
While cavities impact the vast majority of us, by maintaining good oral health care you’ll significantly reduce bacteria, plaque and, ultimately, cavities. Curb your sweet tooth, see your dentist regularly and be sure to adopt a consistent brush, floss and rinse schedule. Put it all together and you’ll enhance your oral health, helping to stop problems before they arise.
The links provided in this article are for educational purposes only. No sponsorship or endorsement is implied. Information was used from the American Dental Association.
©Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2016