How to Prevent Cavities? 4 Easy and Effective Steps

Dr Shreya Ghosh
Shreya has done BDS. She is a dentist with a mission to increase your knowledge about oral health. She will help you to maintain a good oral hygiene and take care of your teeth and gums through one article at a time.

If your diet includes loads of sugar and you don’t take care of your oral health, then there are high chances that your teeth will develop decay. Simple habits and methods can help prevent tooth decay and prevent cavities such as brushing twice daily for 2-3 minutes, flossing once daily, etc.

In this article, we will discuss how to prevent cavities by following some good oral habits and eating the right kind of foods such as cheese, or chewing sugar-free gum etc. You also have to avoid too much sugar in the diet, exclude soda from the diet, etc.

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Prevent cavities by following good oral habits

Brushing regularly

Brush daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride-based toothpaste. Brush twice for 2 minutes each. If you brush once a day for five minutes, then you are increasing the chances of cavity formation.

Toothpaste contains abrasives in minute amounts which can cause damage to teeth enamel when kept in contact for too long. The abrasives present in toothpaste, wear down the tooth enamel and makes the tooth susceptible to cavity formation.

Brushing helps to clean the food debris and also the plaque layer from the tooth. When you clean the food debris, then bacteria cannot produce acids to destroy tooth enamel.

Don’t brush too vigorously. Excess pressure applied on the tooth surface while brushing causes loss of enamel. When the protective enamel covering wears off, teeth become vulnerable to decay.

Floss daily

Flossing promotes gum health and removes food debris stuck between two teeth. Teeth have close contacts which makes it difficult for the bristles of a toothbrush to reach in between and clean that region.

The floss is a thin piece of thread which can slide easily into space between two teeth and clean the area. When you floss after a long time, your gum may bleed a little, and that is okay.

Keep flossing regularly, and within 7-10 days, your gum tissue will be resilient and healthy, and bleeding will stop. Plaque forms tartar which you cannot remove at home. By flossing regularly, you can remove plaque and halt the formation of tartar.

There is no set rule as to if you should floss before brushing or vice versa. You may do as you like as long as you brush and floss regularly.

It is better to brush before flossing as the majority of food debris is cleaned while brushing teeth, and only the inter-dental areas are left for you to clean with floss.

Drink water, say no to soda

Soda with or without sugar is harmful to teeth. Soda contains acid which causes erosion of tooth enamel. Also, bacteria act on the sugar and produce acid which causes tooth decay.

The acid in soda causes enamel erosion, makes the enamel weak and also, stains teeth surface and is not a pleasant sight.

Along with all these steps, don’t skip your dental visits. Your dentist will be able to detect the cavity in its initial stages.

Eat the right kind of foods to prevent cavities

There are certain foods which make your teeth susceptible to caries. Likewise, there are certain foods which help protect your teeth from decay. Let us have a look at some of the foods which prevent tooth decay. (1)

Dairy products

Cheese, milk, yogurt prevent cavity formation and promotes oral health. According to a study, there was a rise in the pH level of plaque, 30 minutes after the subjects consumed the dairy products.

Among milk, yogurt, and cheese, the cheese had the highest pH. Dairy products contain calcium, and one of the main constituents of our teeth is calcium.

Thus, consuming dairy products causes an increase in calcium levels, increases saliva production and helps to harden enamel.

Fresh fruits

Citrus fruits, when consumed in excess, can cause erosion of teeth due to the acid content. But fruits such as apple also help to prevent tooth decay. Fruits increase saliva formation and the saliva in the mouth fights against bacteria.

Wine

After eating chocolates, drinking a glass of wine can fight cavity promoting bacteria in the mouth. Wine contains the active component, proanthocyanidins, which is an antioxidant.

Green and black tea

Tea consumed without sweeteners, milk, and cream is good for oral health. Tea prevents the build-up of plaque. Tea can stain teeth so make sure you are not addicted to tea. Also, rinse your mouth everytime you drink tea.

Chewing sugar-free gum

Sugar-free gum stimulates saliva formation, thereby increasing the rate of salivary flow. Also, sugar-free gums contain xylitol which fights against bacteria and can prevent plaque build-up.

Sorbitol is another sugar substitute with actions similar to xylitol. Xylitol is more effective than sorbitol.

Whole grains

Brown rice, bran, pasta, etc. are sources of whole grains which provide vitamin B. Vitamin B helps to keep gums healthy. Also contains magnesium which is a constituent of teeth and bones. Whole grains have high fiber content which stimulates salivary flow.

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Quit drinking soda or cold drinks with your meals. Instead, drink water. Also chewing gums which contain sugar is bad for health. (2)

Over to you

Small steps go a long way in ensuring good health. So, make small changes in your eating, drinking and brushing habits if you want to prevent cavities. All these steps will help you protect your teeth from decay.

Also, these daily habits are inexpensive compared to the cost of dental treatment.

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