According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the average person’s mouth has hundreds of different types of bacteria that live on the gums, tongue and teeth. Although many of the bacteria in the mouth are helpful, some types of bacteria actively cause tooth decay and cavities. These types of bacteria use the sugar in food that we consume every day to create acids, which cause cavities by breaking down the enamel in teeth.
To prevent cavities, you need to keep all the surfaces of your teeth clean, which also includes the gum line. In addition to regular visits to your dentist, the following tips can also help to keep your teeth free from cavities.
Brush Your Teeth Regularly
Your first line of defense is to keep your teeth clean by brushing at least twice a day. Ideally, you should brush your teeth after every meal for at least two minutes to ensure that acid doesn’t get a chance to erode your enamel. Although it is not always practical to brush your teeth after every meal, you need to brush your teeth before bed because bacteria left on your teeth overnight can cause a lot of damage. Additionally, it is important to use a proper brushing technique, such as gently brushing from the gum line to the tip of each tooth, to remove all food particles.
Brushing your teeth on a regular basis does remove a lot of accumulated food particles and plaque, however, there are areas between the teeth that a toothbrush’s bristles cannot reach. According to the University of Miami Health System incorporating flossing into your dental hygiene routine is the most important thing that you can do to prevent plaque. You should floss daily for at least three minutes to effectively remove hard to reach food particles that brushing can miss.
Use the Proper Toothbrush
The first tool that almost everyone uses to clean their teeth is a toothbrush. However, the wrong toothbrush can cause more harm than good. For example, using a toothbrush with extra hard bristles may actually scratch your teeth’s enamel, which leaves your teeth more vulnerable to cavities. A soft brush is just as effective at removing food particles and does not harm the enamel of your teeth. In addition, you should replace your toothbrush every three months because the bristles can lose their effectiveness due to wear and tear.
Reduce Your Consumption of Sugary Snacks
Sugary food can be especially harmful to your teeth because the bacteria in your mouth act on the sugar that is present in carbohydrates to create harmful acid. Limiting your intake of candy, cookies and sugary drinks can significantly reduce your susceptibility to cavities. If you don’t want to limit your sugar intake, brushing your teeth or rinsing your mouth with water after eating a sugary dessert can reduce the formation of acid.
Use a Tongue Scraper
Your tongue is also a haven for the harmful bacteria in your mouth that can contribute to tooth decay. A tongue scraper is very effective at removing any food particles and bacteria that is present on your tongue.
These tips not only reduce your chances of getting cavities, but they can help to improve your oral health, eliminate bad breath and maintain your smile.