Cavities, also called tooth decay or caries, are a type of damage caused by bacteria in the mouth. Without good oral hygiene habits, bacteria can start affecting the natural tissue of the tooth and create tiny holes which can only be treated at the dentist’s office.
If left untreated, these holes can get bigger and eventually increase the risk of permanent tooth damage or even tooth loss. However, there are some ways you can improve your at-home oral hygiene routine and prevent cavities:
Fluoride makes your teeth stronger and can decrease your risk of cavities tremendously. If you’re currently using toothpaste and mouthwash without fluoride, consider switching your products.
Also be sure to brush at least two times a day, preferably after every meal, to remove as many food particles from your mouth as possible!
Even with an electric toothbrush, the areas in between your teeth will be harder to clean with brushing alone. That’s why dentists recommend flossing the mouth at night before bed to ensure you remove as much debris from the mouth as possible.
Even if you clean your teeth really well, you are still leaving a lot of bacteria present to wreak havoc if you don’t brush your tongue. Gently brush the tongue after you brush your teeth and rinse with water or mouthwash to clean this area as well.
Tap water is another source of fluoride that can help decrease your tooth decay tremendously. If you can’t brush your teeth after every meal, drinking a glass of tap water can gently cleanse the mouth and give it some extra fluoride for added protection.
Snacks are delicious, but they increase your risk for cavities, as you’re essentially giving the bacteria even more reasons to accumulate around your teeth. Sticking to 3 main meals a day helps lower this risk, but if you do need to snack, consider some tooth-friendly options like fresh fruit and vegetables.
And after any snack, don’t forget to cleanse your mouth with some water!
The risk of cavities isn’t just dependent on your oral hygiene habits. Genetics and pre-existing conditions will also factor in tremendously, so the only way to truly minimize your risk of tooth decay is to see the dentist regularly.
During such routine appointments, the dentist can screen your oral health and catch any signs of a cavity or other dental issues before they cause trouble.
If you’ve noticed a tooth cavity forming, Dr. Melanie Villalobos and Dr. Margaret Meadows are happy to help restore your dental health.