Cleanings & Prevention
How to Protect Your Teeth from Cavities
Cavities are caused by bacteria in your mouth that creates acid which eats away at your teeth. To prevent cavities from developing in your teeth, you should brush and floss every day, eat healthy foods, and visit your dentist regularly. Following these important steps will ensure you are doing everything you can to keep your teeth clean, healthy and cavity-free.
Brush at Least Twice a Day
Brushing your teeth is an essential practice for protecting your teeth against cavities. Establish a routine to brush your teeth every morning when you wake up and before you go to sleep at night. If possible, brush your teeth after eating or drinking throughout the day, or just rinse your mouth out with water. Removing food and sugary liquids from your teeth will stop bacteria from growing and causing decay.
Floss Every Night
Use dental floss or a plastic flosser to remove food and plaque buildup between your teeth. Gently work the floss between each set of teeth and move it in a U-shape to ensure you get out all of it. It’s recommended that you do this each night before bedtime. Brushing alone cannot reach all of the areas where bacteria grow, and the areas between your teeth are the most common place for cavities because they are harder to reach. This is why you must pay extra attention to make sure you thoroughly floss between all of your teeth each night.
Use a Mouth Rinse
If you have a high risk of developing cavities, your dentist may recommend that you rinse your teeth with a fluoride mouth rinse once a day. The fluoride will help protect your teeth against decay. You should also drink fluorinated tap water for an extra boost of protection.
Practice a Healthy Diet
Good nutrition can be an important defense in the fight against cavities. Avoid snacking between meals and sugary foods and liquids as much as possible. Any sugary food or drink that stays in contact with your teeth for a prolonged period of time, such as soda, bubble gum or raisins is especially harmful. The longer your teeth are coated in sugar, the more bacteria is created and the likelier you are to develop a cavity.
Some foods have beneficial effects on your teeth, such as:
- Chicken and other meats
- Mozzarella and other cheese
- Sugar-free gum, especially gum containing xylitol
Maintaining a healthy diet is just another way to give your teeth the cavity protection they deserve.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Even by following all of these essential at-home routines, plaque and tartar will begin to build up over time. This is why it is important to go to the dentist about once every six months. Your dentist or dental hygienist will clean your teeth professionally, scraping away all of the buildup and giving your teeth a fresh start. They will also take x-rays of your teeth and will be able to spot weak places where cavities may develop early on.
If you have never had a filling before, your dentist may recommend dental sealants. Sealants are a protective coating made of plastic that help to prevent cavities. The strong resin seal on your back teeth stops plaque and food from gathering in the bumps and crevices where your toothbrush cannot reach, and therefore where cavities are most likely to form.