For all our best intentions to brush and floss consistently, it seems that we can’t always avoid the cavity diagnosis. While brushing and flossing daily is good for your teeth and important for battling gum disease there are other things that we can do to help prevent cavities from forming.
- Use a mouthwash after brushing and flossing help clear out remaining cavity-forming bacteria.
- Avoid snacking between meals as much as possible, especially on sugary or chewy foods can accelerate the formation of cavities. When you do need to eat between meals, try snacking on vegetables. Carrots and celery with hummus is a great option. Chewing vegetable fiber, such as celery, after meals can help stimulate saliva and help cleanse the fissures and pits where cavities typically form.
- For those with braces, water picks can be used to irrigate between the teeth and around the brackets instead of flossing, which is very difficult with most braces.
- Chewing sugar-free gum between meals, particularly those sweetened by natural xylitol, can help prevent cavities by helping neutralize the PH balance in your mouth and suppressing bacteria growth. Some examples include Ice Breakers Ice Cubes gum and Spry gums.
- Drink only water between meals and avoid flavored beverages as much as possible, including soda, sports drinks, fruit juices, sweetened tea/coffee, etc. Drinks with sugar coat the teeth with the plaque that feeds the bacteria that cause cavities, and highly increases your risk of decay. Even “sugar-free” or diet beverages often have a lot of acids that also contribute to enamel breakdown. When you are thirsty, reach for a glass of water to rehydrate.
- Topical Fluoride applications are a great preventative measure to help avoid cavities. Fluoride can help prevent cavities as well as help prevent sensitivity in teeth.
- Visit your dentist every 3-6 months for an evaluation. It’s best to catch cavities early while they are small before they can become larger problems.
- Proper dental care goes beyond just brushing and flossing. Protecting our smiles isn’t always convenient, but it is rewarding.