When it comes to cavity prevention, there’s no substitute for professional cleaning by one of our experienced dentists.
But what are you supposed to do in between your scheduled cleanings?
If you’re worried about keeping cavities at bay, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top five cavity-combatting hacks.
1. Get your oral hygiene up to par
This one should be a no-brainer. The first step in cavity prevention? Keep your teeth clean. Your mouth harbors billions of bacteria that process the sugar in the foods and drinks you consume. They leave behind a film called plaque, which, if left unchecked, wears down your teeth and causes cavities.
But you should know that proper oral hygiene is more than brushing twice a day. You have to have the right tools and make sure you’re using them properly.
We recommend a soft-bristled brush to clean your teeth effectively without irritating your gums. Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle and apply gentle pressure as you move the brush back in forth. Don’t forget to brush your tongue and cheeks as well.
Every 3-4 months or when the bristles start to fray, swap your brush for a new one.
2. Rethink your beverages
We get it. There are few things more refreshing than a can of pop, and sometimes you need that frappucino to get you through the afternoon. However, sipping on sugar-soaked beverages exposes your teeth to large amounts of sugar.
Why does that matter? Sugar sticks to the surface of your teeth, and unless you rinse or brush it away, it can quickly cause cavities.
We recommend limiting your consumption of sugary drinks. At the very least, you should have some water to counteract the effects of the sugar. Bonus points if you head to the bathroom and brush your teeth after downing a sweet drink.
3. Focus on flossing
Your teeth have five sides, and each needs to be cleaned regularly. At best, your toothbrush cleans the three visible sides. If you’re not flossing, you’re leaving about half of your teeth uncleaned.
Flossing only takes a few minutes a day and is one of the most important things you can do to fully clean your teeth and avoid tooth decay that eventually leads to cavities.
Need help getting started? We can walk you through the best flossing practices at your next cleaning.
4. Quit smoking
It’s no secret that smoking threatens nearly every facet of your health. However, many don’t realize that your teeth and gums are in the line of fire, as well. In addition to staining your teeth, smoking can cause tooth decay. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 40% of adults who smoke have tooth decay.
And where there’s tooth decay, cavities are bound to follow.
5. Find out if you’re at an increased risk
Some people are more prone than others to develop cavities, and discovering your risk level can help you avoid them. Many factors can contribute to a high risk for cavities, including:
- Multiple existing restorations, such as fillings or crowns
- Fractured teeth
- Dry mouth
- A diet high in sugar
- A systemic condition
- Active decay
- Unsealed grooves or pits in your teeth
- Orthodontic treatments, such as braces or Invisalign®
Of course, poor dental hygiene is chief among the risk factors for cavities. Talk to us if you think you’re particularly vulnerable, and we can help you take steps to mitigate your risk.
You only get one set of teeth. Stop wondering about keeping them healthy and start taking steps toward actually doing it with our help. Call our friendly staff or use the online booking tool to schedule an appointment at one of our Rifkin Dental locations in either Carmel or Yorktown Heights, New York, today.