Five Things You Can Do to Prevent Cavities
Everyone knows that if you want to prevent cavities, regular brushing and flossing is essential. However, it may no longer be that simple. Today, cavities are the second most common disease – the common cold is the first. Fortunately, there are other things you can add to your brushing and flossing routine that will help prevent cavities.
1: Avoid Sticky, Sugary Food
Plaque – a sticky substance made of bacteria, mucus, and food – is continually forming on our teeth. It’s that slimy coating that you can feel by running your tongue over the front of your teeth. If you don’t remove it with thorough daily brushing and cleaning between teeth, it can damage your teeth and gums.
Foods that are hard to remove – that cling to your teeth when you chew – are the most harmful. Think raisins, granola bars, or sticky candy. The sooner you clean your teeth, the less likely you are to develop cavities. Plaque uses that sticky debris to create tooth decay. If you can’t always brush or floss after eating, swishing with water helps remove food particles and reduce plaque.
2. Cut back on sugary and acidic drinks
Drinking acidic coffee or tea, especially when you add sugar or milk to enrich the taste, can increase your risk for new cavities. The problem with sipping enriched coffee is that the harmful sugars stay in your saliva over a long period. You can reduce the harm by drinking water to rinse your mouth and reduce the sugar in your saliva.
3. Drink More Water
Believe it or not, drinking water is one of the most natural and best things you can do to help prevent cavities. Water is by far the healthiest drink we can choose. And–drinking water really helps your teeth stay healthy – especially if it’s fluoridated.
4. Quit smoking.
It is well known that smoking leads to disease and disability and harms nearly every organ of the body. Smoking can do a lot more than just stain your teeth – this unhealthy habit can also lead to gum disease, tooth loss, and even oral cancer.
5. Get a Comprehensive Dental Exam
Everyone has a cavity risk level. It’s essential that you have someone who knows your teeth to evaluate yours. In a comprehensive dental exam, your dentist will tell you where you stand, which treatments may be needed, as well as which changes in oral hygiene and diet may help. Once you know your risk level, then you take a more specific, practical approach to improving your oral health, including determining the best schedule of dental visits. If you see your dentist and dental hygienist regularly, they can look for signs of disease. I recommend that you visit your dentist every six months for an exam and professional cleaning.
If you can put into practice these five guidelines, you will reduce your chances of developing cavities and gum disease. The payoff? Fewer dental problems and a healthy, attractive smile. Contact my office to schedule an exam and let’s get started on your plan for a healthy mouth.
Remember, healthy teeth make a healthy smile!
Dr. Nishan Halim
Nishan Halim, DMD specializes in adult and pediatric restorative and cosmetic dentistry, as well as preventive dentistry, which is at the heart of this Capitol Hill, Washington DC neighborhood dental center. Contact Dr. Halim to schedule an appointment and find out how he can help you maintain your healthy smile.