You take good care of your teeth, but sometimes pesky cavities still form in-between visits to your dentist. A cavity is a permanently damaged area of your tooth formed over time due to multiple factors, such as bacteria and not cleaning your teeth properly. Unfortunately, even with a good dental hygiene regimen, cavities can make their way into your teeth in surprising ways. Read on to discover some small, lesser-known ways you can decrease your chances of having these painful cavities form in your teeth!
1. Brush after every meal and before you go to sleep.
Many of us are in the habit of brushing when we wake up and as part of our nightly routine, but adding a brush after meals can help cut down on your cavity risk as well. Bacteria naturally linger on your teeth in the form of plaque and, when you eat, they slowly break down your enamel and cause little holes to form in the surface of your tooth. Being diligent about brushing after meals is an easy way to keep bad bacteria at bay. Make sure you add a nightly brush in after that late-night snack, as sleep is the optimal time for bacteria to grow in your mouth.
2. Keep your mouth moistened.
Dry mouth affects many of us, particularly as we age. While it may seem purely like an annoyance, it can actually increase the likelihood of developing cavities because your saliva helps keeps your mouth bacteria in check! Using mouthwash specifically for dry mouth can help to alleviate this problem, but it’s always a good idea to check with your dentist if dry mouth persists.
3. Take care of your heartburn.
Another issue seemingly unrelated to tooth health is that of heartburn and acid reflux. As acid churns in your stomach, it can enter your mouth and break down the enamel on your teeth. For minor and occasional heartburn issues, over-the-counter antacids should keep the issue mostly under control, but it’s important to consult your doctor if heartburn issues become persistent.
4. Avoid sugary foods.
This is the advice we’ve been told repeatedly since childhood, and yet we always hope to find out someday it isn’t true. Unfortunately for your sweet tooth, it’s been proven repeatedly that sugary foods lead to tooth decay. When you eat candy, for example, the sugar binds and clings easily to your teeth—making it hard for saliva to wash away. The longer something stays clung to your tooth, the more the bacteria in plaque can damage enamel. To be safe, avoid sweets and always brush after dessert if you do indulge.
5. Trust the tap!
Many of us have transitioned over to bottled water because of its convenience to bring on the go. Some people also believe bottled water may have added benefits compared to tap water. However, when it comes to tooth health, drinking from the tap is your best bet. Many public water supplies add fluoride, a natural mineral that strengthens enamel, into their water supply. Bottled water often does not contain fluoride, and therefore your teeth aren’t being strengthened when you drink it. If you’re committed to bottled water, make sure you use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash to continue getting this essential mineral.
If you feel like you’re doing all you can to prevent cavities, but they’re still a pest in your life, talk to your dentist today about what you can do to strengthen your teeth.
Call TruBlu Dentistry in Burbank, Chicago, or Hegewisch to book your next checkup today!