10 WAYS TO PREVENT CAVITIES
How do we prevent cavities? Proper oral hygiene is important to prevent oral cavity and general body diseases. Neglecting dental oral health will result in an impaired immune system that increases the risk of widespread infections and illnesses. To remain healthy, you should adhere to basic dental hygiene practices and follow oral health guidelines regularly. However. individuals who consume tobacco and alcohol, and do not practice oral hygiene, may suffer from multiple dental conditions. One of the most common dental conditions is dental caries or cavities.
What is a cavity?
According to the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS), approximately 96% of Canadian adults have suffered from cavities. Cavities or tooth decay is a dynamic disease in which the minerals in teeth are dissolved by the acid produced by bacteria. Cavities damage the tooth crown and can expose the root surface in more severe cases. This oral condition is not only detrimental to health but can also become quite expensive. Practicing good oral hygiene will help prevent cavities and promote overall health.
10 Great Ways To Prevent Cavities
Oral Hygiene Habits
The bacteria responsible for a person developing cavities accumulates in the plaque. Regular removal of plaque is essential for eradicating the bacterial population in the mouth. The plaque can be removed by brushing, flossing, and rinsing your mouth regularly and in the correct way. This prevents cavities and other dental conditions. Interdental cleaners like mouthwash are also very helpful for deep cleaning the mouth.
Use Fluoride Toothpaste
Fluoride decreases demineralization of the teeth while at the same time increases remineralization. Brushing your teeth using fluoride toothpaste after eating or drinking will strengthen your teeth and increase their resistance to bacterial acids. Fluoride also suppresses bacterial enzymes and inhibits bacterial growth. Regular use of fluoride toothpaste prevents tooth decay and keeps your teeth healthy and strong. Using a fluoride rinse is also quite beneficial.
The pits and fissures of the molars which are present at the back of the mouth collect food particles and favor plaque formation. These teeth are hard to reach while cleaning the mouth, hence more susceptible to tooth decay. Dental sealants are used to seal these pits and fissures on the chewing surface of the teeth. Dental sealants may be made of plastic or resin and are widely used among children as well as adults that are at an increased risk for tooth decay. Sealants must be checked regularly to prevent any complications.
Sugar Alternatives To Prevent Cavities
Table sugar or sucrose is the primary source of nutrition for bacteria that cause cavities. It indirectly increases bacterial acid production, which destroys the tooth enamel and results in tooth decay. Sucrose can be replaced by xylitol. Xylitol imparts a sweet taste to the food and prevents dental caries at the same time. Xylitol also prevents bacteria from consuming sucrose and inhibits bacterial metabolism. Decreased acid production stabilizes the pH of the oral cavity.
Stevia is also a plant-derived natural sweetener that prevents dental caries by decreasing plaque formation. Minimizing sugar intake will promote oral health and prevent dental disorders and other illnesses.
Sugary foods, soft drinks, alcohol, tobacco, and excessive intake of pickles and citrus fruits have deleterious effects on oral health. However, there are many foods that are healthy for the teeth. A balanced intake of fresh fruits and vegetables increases the saliva flow which washes away food particles. A similar effect is exerted by sugar-free coffee, tea, and gum. Dairy products provide calcium and phosphate for the mineralization of the tooth enamel. Some cereals and seafood are also rich in fluoride which prevent tooth decay. One should avoid consuming food items that have a tendency to stick to the teeth and brush immediately after eating.
Reduce Frequent Snacking
Let’s face it, we all enjoy snacking and sipping on unhealthy foods. The frequency and quality of the foods we consumed play a major role in our overall oral health. Continuous snacking creates a constant acidic environment in our mouths as bacteria activity increases with a high intake of carbohydrates. However, snacking in the correct way can actually help prevent tooth decay. Fruits and vegetables with greater water content help eradicate food particles. Foods enriched with fiber act like natural toothbrushes as they scrape away food particles as we chew. Additionally, decreasing the frequency of snacking will also reduce tooth decay.
Prevent Cavities By Drinking More Tap Water
Compared to bottled water, tap water contains sufficient quantities of fluoride to aid in maintaining good oral health. Rinsing and drinking fluoride-rich tap water helps prevent cavities alongside regular brushing and flossing.
Fluoride treatments are a great supplement to help fill your fluoride requirements in addition to tap water, toothpaste, mouth-washing, and other sources. The dentist may recommend fluoride supplements or custom fluoride trays that provide an easy application of fluoride over the teeth. This treatment is particularly useful for individuals who are at a higher risk of developing tooth decay.
Stopping bacterial growth at the source in the oral cavity play a pivotal role in preventing cavities. Antibacterial mouthwashes are commonly used to eradicate the most strains of bacteria in the mouth. In fact, recent advancements in dentistry have developed antibacterial fillings that can help prevent tooth decay. These fillings are made of a resin base embedded with materials having anti-bacterial properties. This prevents the bacterial from accumulating on the tooth surface, thus suppressing the onset of tooth decay.
Regular Dental Appointments
While it may be true that many Canadians might have some hesitation towards dental checkups, regular dental checkups are imperative to maintaining good oral health. During your dentist appointment, your oral cavity is professionally cleaned and the plaque is effectively removed. Moreover, your dentist will perform an oral exam to examine your mouth to spot any abnormalities. A regular oral exam helps identify and diagnose dental conditions early in their course. This not only prevents cavities, but can also reduce further damage to the teeth from an existing cavity.
Cavities are one of the preventable dental conditions that affect all individuals from every age group. Unhygienic habits such as consuming unhealthy foods, smoking, not brushing and flossing your teeth regularly increase the risk of tooth decay. Fluoride supplementation, antibacterial mouthwash, and regular flossing, brushing, and cleaning the teeth prevent cavities as well as improve oral health. Visit your dentist for routine cleanings and an oral exam.
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