We’ve all heard the phrase “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Well, this old adage rings true when it comes to preventing the formation of cavities. Taking good care of your teeth can help prevent cavities and keep your mouth healthy. While this may sound easier said than done, developing an effective and comprehensive oral hygiene routine is fairly simple once you get started, and can really make a huge difference in the health of your teeth and mouth.
The Formation of Cavities
You may wonder how cavities actually form. There are a number of steps required for cavities to form, starting from the loss of tooth mineral process (demineralization) to eating all the way through the tooth to cause a cavity. Here’s a basic step-by-step replay of how you could get cavities:
- Eating and Drinking: This is where it all begins. Since we all have to eat and drink to live, there’s no way to avoid this, but it does play a significant role in the formation of cavities. When you eat or drink, carbohydrates remain on your teeth until you brush. Even after brushing, you may not be able to remove all food particles or carbohydrates from your teeth.
- Combining Bacteria and Acid: While most people don’t like to think about it, bacteria naturally live in your mouth. When these bacteria digest the carbohydrates that linger on your teeth and in your mouth, acid forms.
- Plaque Formation: Plaque is caused when bacteria, acid, food particles, and saliva all combine in your mouth. This plaque adheres to your teeth and builds up over time. The acid in plaque attacks the enamel of your tooth and eventually can cause holes in your teeth, otherwise known as cavities. (1)
Establishing and maintaining a diligent oral hygiene regimen is the best way to prevent cavities. There are a number of important steps involved in keeping your teeth and mouth healthy. Below are a few tips to help you get started with a new and effective oral hygiene routine.
- Brush more often. Just because your dentist says to brush twice a day doesn’t mean you have to stop there. One great way to prevent the formation of plaque that causes cavities is to brush after every meal or snack.
- Limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks. Sodas and candy supply sugars which the bacteria in your mouth feed upon creating acids. It’s best to limit your consumption of these products.
- Floss daily. Flossing removes the food particles that get lodged in between your teeth and slowly cause plaque build-up that leads to cavities.
- Put your mouth to work while you sleep. Products such as Crest Pro-Health Multi-Protection Rinse can help protect against plaque and gingivitis while you sleep. Also, Crest Pro-Health Enamel Shield rinse contains fluoride to help strengthen enamel and prevent cavities. Rinse right before you go to bed and it will work all night. When used again in the morning, it provides 24-hour protection to help kill germs, prevent gingivitis, and freshen breath.