Maintaining a healthy mouth is an important part of your overall health. Poor oral hygiene can not only lead to tooth decay, tooth cavities, and other complications, but a number of studies have shown an association between periodontal disease in your mouth and other health conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
Why Prevent Tooth Cavities?
Anyone who has ever had one will tell you that tooth cavities are no fun. We all have better things to do than spend an hour at the dentist getting a cavity filled or take time off work for a toothache. Preventing tooth cavities can help you avoid oral pain, significant dental expenses and the time required for comprehensive dental treatment.
Tips for Preventing Tooth Cavities
Taking good care of your teeth can help prevent tooth decay and ultimately cavities. Adhering to a comprehensive oral hygiene regimen is the first step to good oral health. Here are some important tips to help prevent tooth decay and cavities.
- Avoid Sweets and Soda: Candy, sodas and other sugary foods contain sugars that help plaque-forming bacteria survive in your mouth. In addition, sugary foods or candies that stay in your mouth for longer periods of time can also have a greater impact in the formation of plaque and tooth decay. If you do indulge, brush your teeth after eating to help prevent the progression of tooth decay.
- Watch What You Eat: Foods that get stuck in your teeth, such as chips, candies, or cookies can also aggravate tooth decay. Opt to snack on raw fruits and vegetables as much as possible because they can actually help remove plaque by naturally “scrubbing” your teeth. They're also healthier for your body.
- Brush Regularly: This is the golden rule of oral hygiene. Brushing after you eat or drink with a fluoride-based toothpaste can help keep your teeth clean and free of plaque that leads to tooth decay and cavities.
- Floss and Rinse: While good brushing is critical, it won’t necessarily do the job alone . Flossing daily and using a mouth rinse that protects against plaque build-up will help reduce your risk for developing problems.
- Visit Your Dentist: No matter how diligent you are about your daily oral hygiene routine, see a professional twice a year for routine cleanings and exams. Having your teeth professionally cleaned will remove plaque and tartar that you can’t remove with over-the-counter products and tools. (1)
- Protect Your Teeth with Fluoride: Protection is key in preventing tooth cavities; fluoride is known to prevent tooth decay. (2) Ensure your water contains a safe level of fluoride, and use products that contain fluoride. Crest Pro-Health Enamel Shield Toothpaste can help protect against tooth enamel loss.
Early Detection and Treatment of Tooth Cavities
Even the healthiest, most dedicated oral hygiene fanatics will most likely get at least one or two tooth cavities over their lifetime—even your dentist will likely get a cavity at some point. So, while preventing tooth cavities is ideal, don’t worry too much if you do get diagnosed with tooth cavities. The key is to find them early and treat them quickly.
Identifying Tooth Cavities
Seeing your dentist twice a year will make it easy to diagnose tooth cavities before they become a significant problem. During your regular exam, your dentist will carefully inspect your teeth with dental tools and use X-ray technology. These techniques will help the dentist identify tooth decay early on, which can help prevent further decay and complications. If you experience tooth pain in between your regular check-ups, call your dentist and schedule an appointment quickly. Leaving a cavity or other oral problem untreated can cause it to progress and get worse.