How to Prevent Cavities: What You Should Know

Even the cleanest mouth harbors numerous types of bacteria, some helpful and some harmful. When harmful bacteria form a colony on your teeth, cavities can occur. Preventing cavities is an ongoing struggle, but there are five main methods to reduce your risks.

Oral Hygiene

The single best way to prevent cavities is to thoroughly brush and floss your teeth and gums. This prevents bacteria from attaching to your teeth, and removes the food debris that feed them. Brush at least twice per day and floss once per day. If possible, rinse your mouth with plain water after every meal for additional protection.

Office Visits

Dental cleanings are more thorough than is possible with brushing and flossing, and exams give your dentist the opportunity to catch any developing problems before they progress. Most people should visit the dentist’s office twice per year. Those with excellent oral hygiene and a minimal risk of dental disease may be able to visit just twice per year, while those who are prone to dental issues may need a more frequent schedule. We will let you know what is right and best for you.

Dental Sealants

Dental sealants coat the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, sealing off the crevices that can be difficult to fully clean. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that all children receive dental sealants. Many adults, especially those prone to dental disease, can also benefit. Dental sealants should be checked for cracking during every dental exam, but normally last for about 10 years.

Fluoride Treatments

Though fluoride has become a hot button issue, evidence shows that it assists with hardening tooth enamel. The popularity of bottled water means that many people do not receive the benefits of community water fluoridation. Although water fluoridation exists in New York City, our tap water on Suffolk County does not. Many times, children benefit from this fluoridation and supplemental vitamins are prescribed. Those who are prone to dental disease may benefit from not only brushing with fluoridated toothpaste, but also prescription fluoride treatments. We will let you know if fluoride treatments are recommended for you.

Dietary Modifications

Sugar is an easy source of energy for oral bacteria, and can be used to produce the glue they use to stick to teeth. Like any other dietary concern, though, sugar is not inherently dangerous. Consume sugar in moderation and rinse your mouth with plain water or brush your teeth as soon as possible.

Any food that gets stuck in the teeth can raise your risk for cavities. Between-meal snacks are a particular risk, as many common snack foods create acids that can weaken tooth enamel. Brushing thoroughly or carefully rinsing with water can wash away food debris before any damage is done.

Fresh fruits and vegetables boost saliva production, as does sugar free chewing gum. Saliva is your body’s natural mouth rinse, so keeping a good flow can help lower your risk for cavities.

There is no one size fits all solution to preventing cavities. Stick to the tips above to reduce your risks, and ask us for any additional suggestions that may apply specifically to you.

Smile Shack is a leading dentist in Port Jefferson Station, NY. We pride ourselves on offering a full array of dental services, from cleanings to dental implants, and root canal treatment to Invisalign. If you are searching for a caring, trustworthy, and professional dentist, we invite you to call 631-928-7500 to make an appointment today.