It’s no secret that cavities are a common threat to children’s smiles, but did you know that they also affect a large majority of adults in at least one of their permanent teeth? Of all the issues that can threaten your dental health, tooth decay and cavities are among the most common, but they’re also among the most highly preventable. Since tooth decay is mainly a byproduct of inadequate hygiene and/or eating habits, focusing on these areas is the most effective way to prevent cavities.
Don’t let up on brushing and flossing.
You shouldn’t need your dentist to tell you the importance of brushing and flossing. In fact, wait long enough, and you can feel it yourself in the form of plaque clinging uncomfortably to your teeth. When allowed to stay for more than a day or so, plaque hardens into tartar, and your toothbrush can no longer remove it. Be sure to brush and floss your teeth at least twice every day to control plaque and the cavity-causing bacteria that it contains.
Clean (or rinse) your teeth when you eat.
By themselves, oral bacteria don’t do much damage. The threat lies in the substances they create when they metabolize nutrients from your meals and beverages. In the case of cavities, some bacteria convert sugars and carbs into acids that attack your teeth’s protective layer of enamel. If you can’t brush your teeth after eating or snacking, then rinse your mouth with water immediately afterwards to rinse away food debris.
Make checkups and cleanings a priority.
No matter how much you brush and floss, and no matter how many times you turn down a cookie or cupcake in the middle of the day, your teeth will still be at risk of cavity development if you don’t attend a checkup and cleaning regularly. You should schedule an appointment at least once every six months so your hygienist can professionally clean away tartar and reduce your risks of cavity development.