Cavities are holes in your teeth formed when the tooth begins to decay because of acid and bacteria that attack the tooth’s enamel.
If you’re thinking that sounds bad, you’re right. The goal is to keep cavities from forming so you don’t have to fill the cavities at your dentist’s office.
At Smile Design Manhattan in the Midtown West neighborhood of New York City, we’ve filled more cavities than we can count. To keep you from adding to that number, here are five easy ways you can prevent cavities from forming in the first place.
Brush your teeth
This one is pretty obvious, but it’s even more effective if you do it properly. Bacteria and plaque can build up in your mouth because of the food you eat, and brushing is necessary to keep your mouth clean and healthy.
To get the most out of brushing, you should brush after every meal and before bed — this last one is important to keep the bacteria off your teeth all night long. Brush all sides of your teeth, your gums, and even your tongue.
And don’t forget to replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months for best results.
We know, you don’t like to floss. But give it a chance. Once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to do, and it increases how much of your teeth you’re actually getting clean.
Ideally, you should floss after meals and before bed, but anytime is fine. You can even multitask by flossing while you’re watching TV. Just start small and build the routine.
Drink more water
This has a double purpose. Not only is drinking more water good for your overall health, but drinking water helps you stay away from the sugary and acidic drinks that increase your risk of cavities. Also, the fluoride in water helps protect your teeth.
If you drink coffee with added sugar all morning, for example, the harmful acids and sugars stay in your saliva for a long time, working away at your teeth. Have a cup of coffee by all means, but limit your time drinking it and rinse your mouth with water afterward.
If you’re at high risk of cavities, ask your dentist about putting a sealant on your teeth. They can apply the sealant on the deep grooves of your teeth — this fills in the grooves and reduces the chances of your teeth trapping food and retaining plaque that can eat away at the enamel.
Visit the dentist
Don’t skip your routine dental visits. Regular checkups keep your teeth clean and healthy and give you the best chance of avoiding cavities. Your dental team also can spot any trouble areas early, giving you plenty of time to head off issues before they become bigger problems.
If you suspect you may have a cavity or want to take steps to prevent getting one, reach out to Smile Design Manhattan today to set up an exam. Just call our office, and we can schedule your appointment right away to keep your smile bright and cavity-free!