Cavities, also known as tooth decay, occur when plague, the sticky substance that forms on teeth, combines with the sugars and/or starches of the foods that we eat. This combination produces acids that attack tooth enamel.
Tooth decay is also the second most prevalent disease in the United States (the common cold is first). Fortunately, cavities can be easily prevented.
In the fight against cavities, it is essential that you brush your teeth properly at least twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride.
Food debris gets caught in between our teeth when we eat. If the debris is not removed, it can lead to cavities. Flossing every day is the best way to remove food debris from in between the teeth.
Proper nutrition plays an important role in good dental health. Eating nutritional snacks and limiting the amount of sugary drinks will help to prevent plaque from forming on the teeth.
Many cavities can only be detected by a dentist or a dental X-ray. Visiting your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings are a key factor in preventing cavities and staying on top of good oral hygiene.
Dental sealants are a protective coating that is applied to the biting surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant protects the tooth from getting a cavity by shielding it against bacteria and plaque. Sealants are more common in children because of the new growth of permanent teeth, however, sealants can benefit adults too.
There are several antimicrobial mouth rinses on the market that have been clinically proven to reduce plaque, such as Listerine or Crest Pro Health. Rinsing with one of these mouth rinses after brushing or eating can aid in cavity prevention.
Believe it or not, chewing certain sugarless gums can actually help to prevent cavities by increasing the flow of saliva in your mouth. In 2007, the American Dental Association awarded their Seal of Acceptance to Wrigley’s Orbit, Eclipse and Extra chewing gums for helping to prevent cavities.