Preventing cavities is one of the most important goals of oral hygiene. By limiting cavities, you can keep your teeth much longer and limit costly or uncomfortable fillings, root canals, and other procedures.
Much of preventing cavities is your responsibility! Your dentist can provide you with some help, but it’s important to establish daily rituals and habits for dental health. Here are five specific things you and your family can do to minimize your risk for cavities and keep your enamel strong:
Brush Twice Daily
Twice daily brushing is your first line of defense against cavities and other oral health concerns.
During each session, you should brush your teeth for two minutes, focusing on each quadrant of your mouth for thirty seconds. Be sure to brush each surface of each tooth, including the backs of your molars (especially if your wisdom teeth have been removed).
Fluoride toothpaste is ideal because it reinforces your enamel, increasing your body’s natural ability to fight cavities. Whitening toothpaste is nice for aesthetics but generally does not offer nearly as much anti-cavity protection.
Floss At Least Once Daily
Unfortunately, many people who have good brushing habits still don’t floss with the frequency they should.
Flossing may seem time-consuming or inconvenient in the moment, but it becomes faster and easier to do as you make it a daily routine, and it’s a great long-term investment in the health of your teeth and gums.
As you floss between each tooth, be sure to bring the floss all the way down on both sides of the section of gum that separate your teeth. If you find this difficult using traditional floss, you can use a floss holder.
Get Professional Cleanings Twice Yearly
We said most of cavity prevention is your responsibility, but your dentist can give you major support with twice-yearly cleanings using professional grade equipment and their years of expert training.
With that said, you still have to call and make the appointment! Your dentist can send you a postcard or an email reminder, but you must take the initiative to prioritize your oral hygiene and the health of your teeth.
With regular dental visits, you can identify areas you’re not brushing as effectively or discover small cavities while they’re still treatable without filling.
Use a Fluoride Mouthwash
Fluoride has been proven to strengthen and reinforce the enamel of your teeth. Acids and microbes that grow on sugar are constantly attacking that important protective layer, and if your regularly enjoy soda of coffee, adding fluoride mouthwash to your routine can be a game-changer.
Thankfully, over-the-counter fluoride mouthwashes are now available in the same aisle as toothbrushes and toothpastes in just about every grocery store and pharmacy.
If you’re cavity-prone or know your diet isn’t especially friendly on your teeth, supplemental fluoride can save you hundreds of dollars in fillings and a world of oral pain.
Limit Sugar, Sweets, and Acids
We saved this one for last because it’s the part that nobody wants to hear: the best way to prevent cavities is to avoid foods and drinks that promote cavities. That means watching your intake of soda, sugared coffee and tea, and even orange juice.
We’re not saying you have to give up your favorite treats, but moderation is key, and you always need to remember to brush and floss afterward!