Did you know dental caries (tooth decay or cavities) are the second most common disease in humans? The first is the common cold.
But unlike a cold that disappears after a week or so, cavities cause irreversible damage to your teeth. If left untreated, the disease will spread and put other teeth, even your overall health, at risk.
Cavities are preventable!
All you have to do is understand your risk and follow a thorough dental hygiene routine.
To make it even simpler, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about avoiding tooth decay (and other dental problems) below!
How to prevent cavities
We asked our Tacoma dentist, Dr. Michael Giesy, for the most successful dental tips for preventing tooth decay, and here’s what he recommends.
1. Understand your risk
Can you be prone to cavities?
Yes, you may be more prone to cavities than others. But simply increasing your hygiene routine may not be enough.
Factors like your diet, medications, diabetes, oral pH level, saliva production, and teeth alignment all play a role in how susceptible you are.
To find out your level of risk, ask your dentist for an assessment. Dr. Giesy performs a comprehensive evaluation, including all the factors above and more.
If you’re at-risk, you and your dentist can establish a personalized dental care plan that keeps your smile cavity-free.
2. Get your teeth professionally cleaned
No matter how well your brush, floss, or do any of the following tips, this is a must!
To prevent cavities and other oral health problems, you must get your teeth cleaned by a registered dental hygienist at least twice per year.
If you’re prone to cavities or have poor oral health, then you’ll need your teeth cleaned more frequently.
At Giesy Family & Implant Dentistry, we offer ultrasonic cleanings, which are comfortable and effective. This handheld device uses electromagnetic forces to blast away plaque, calculus, and stains from teeth.
Got dental insurance?
Most dental insurance plans cover preventative dental care, including two hygiene cleanings per year, at no additional cost.
3. Brush your teeth at least twice per day
The minimum number of times you should brush your teeth per day is two. Typically in the morning and before bed.
For the most effective prevention, brush your teeth after every meal or snack.
4. Floss your teeth once per day
You cannot effectively brush between your teeth, which is most likely where food, debris, plaque, and bacteria reside. Therefore, you must floss.
Flossing is very effective in preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
Don’t like traditional string floss?
Try one of these:
- Water flosser
- Interdental brush
- Floss pick
Should you floss or brush first?
Ideally, you should floss first, so any particles left behind are removed with brushing.
But realistically, if you’re flossing once per day, you’re doing it right!
5. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
Medium and hard toothbrushes may do you more harm than good.
The American Dental Association… This text opens a new tab to the ADA website… recommends soft-bristled toothbrushes with angled or multi-layer bristles.
Soft-bristled toothbrushes are gentle while still being effective at removing bacteria and plaque. They also help you avoid negatively impacting your enamel and gums.
P.S. Don’t forget to:
- Replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if the bristles are frayed.
- Keep your toothbrush at least three feet away from the toilet.
- Store your toothbrush in a well-ventilated area (holder, drawer, etc.).
6. Use fluoride toothpaste
Fluoride helps remineralize your teeth and strengthen your enamel, so it’s more resistant to decay.
It’s highly effective in tooth decay prevention!
7. Drink more water
Speaking of fluoride…
Did you know most public water systems in America contain fluoride to prevent cavities?
This is another beneficial way to get fluoride. But drinking water also helps wash away bacteria and debris and produce saliva.
8. Get fluoride treatments
If you are not getting enough fluoride or at risk for decay, your dentist’s fluoride treatment will help.
Professional fluoride treatments contain high (but safe) levels of fluoride for maximum protection. They often come as a gel, foam, or varnish.
Plus, these may be covered by your dental insurance!
9. Have dental sealants placed
Sealants are super effective in preventing cavities on the back teeth, especially in children.
Your back teeth’s chewing surfaces have grooves and fissures, which tend to collect food and bacteria because they’re hard to clean, making them prone to cavities.
A sealant is a clear coating that fills the irregular crannies on your back teeth. It protects the enamel from acid attacks and prevents cavities, and it makes your teeth easier to clean.
10. Eat a balanced diet
Limit your intake of:
- Coffee and tea
- Sticky or sour foods
- Dried fruits
- Green tea
Bonus tip: Chew sugar-free gum
Chewing gum helps increase saliva flow, which is a key part of your body’s natural cavity prevention.
Just keep in mind:
It must be sugar-free gum! Otherwise, it’s counteractive.
Schedule your next cleaning today
Remember tip #2?
Regular dental cleanings are vital to your oral and overall health. Plus, by taking a proactive approach with preventative dentistry, you’ll save yourself money and headaches down the road.
Looking for the best family dentist near Tacoma, WA?
Visit our 5-star… This text opens a new tab to our Google page… dental team!
We’re happily accepting new patients of all ages!
Or reach us by:
Giesy Family & Implant Dentistry is located in Tacoma, WA. We serve families from all over Pacific Northwest, including Ruston, Spanaway, Gig Harbor, Lakewood, University Place, Fircrest, Olympia, Puyallup, Federal Way, Fife, and Port Orchard.