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3 Ways to Avoid Teeth Cavities

3 Ways to Avoid Teeth Cavities

Good day, Jacksonville! Welcome back to the ongoing blog of All Smiles, in Jacksonville, TX. In today’s blog we want to talk about something near and not dear to your teeth: cavities. We’re going to start by discussing what causes cavities, as well as give you three great tips for avoiding them.

Understanding What Causes Cavities

In short, cavities are caused by the build-up of plaque and tartar upon your enamel. Plaque and tartar dissolve the outer layers of your teeth’s enamel, leaving holes in them. This is called a cavity, and can lead to serious tooth decay if left untreated.

But it is also important to understand why cavities develop. Whenever you eat, a thin spread of food particles covers your teeth. Many of these particles are removed by brushing or natural saliva flow; however particles from sugary and acidic foods tend to remain on your teeth.

These troublesome particles attract bacteria, which forms plaque. Plaque often has no smell or visible appearance, but acts as an acidic film against your teeth’s enamel. When plaque hardens it is called tartar. Proper brushing and flossing can help reduce plaque, but tartar generally requires removing via a tooth cleaning from a dentist or dental hygienist. Cavities don’t just happen to children; they can also happen to teenagers and adults as well. Older adults are particularly at risk for cavities.

Now that you understand what causes cavities, you are better positioned to deal with cavities.

Step #1: Practice Proper Dental Hygiene

Many of our patients are surprised to learn that they are not brushing enough. Although most people do brush at least twice a day, many fail to brush for at least two minutes at a time. Toothpaste contains many elements that are designed to remove bacteria for your teeth, and strengthen your enamel. But toothpaste needs time to be effective, and brushing for thirty seconds at a time is not cutting it.

If you have kids, you may want to make a game of it. Play them a song to ensure that they brush for long enough; or consider purchasing a toothbrush with a built-in timer. Some children’s toothbrushes now feature flashing lights that countdown the time your child needs to be brushing.

It’s also of vital importance to floss. We really can’t stress this one enough. Brushing alone cannot reach about 30 to 40 percent of the surface of your teeth. Plaque and tartar thrive in-between your teeth, and this can lead to painful cavities between teeth.

You’ll also need to make sure you’re getting some fluoride in your daily dental routine. Luckily, most toothpastes, and public supplies of water, contain fluoride. Fluoride helps strengthen your enamel.

Step #2: Watch What You Eat

Certain foods remain on your teeth long after you eat them. When food remains on your teeth, bacteria has much longer to develop. Foods high in sugars and carbohydrates can especially spell trouble for your teeth, as bacteria is particularly attracted to them.

For this reason, it is best to limit your intake of chewy or sticky candies. Caramel, dulche de leche, and peanut butter are all adept at sticking to your teeth. They get stuck between the gaps in your teeth, as well in your tooth’s natural pits and ridges. When this happens, you may notice it and rinse your mouth out. However, microscopic portions of these sweets still remain to attract bacteria, and cause cavities.

If you’re absolutely craving chocolate, you still have options. Candy bars filled with nougat are a good choice. Three Musketeers is one popular option fitting this criteria. Dark chocolate is another good choice; eating it actually increases your mouth’s natural flow of saliva, helping to prevent the build-up of bacteria.

Step #3: Visit The Dentist’s Office

To ensure the health of your teeth, it is important to visit the dentist’s office every six months. During a routine appointment, your teeth will be cleaned. This process helps remove the plaque and tartar that cause cavities; much of which cannot be removed with brushing and flossing alone.

We will also take x-rays of your teeth, and perform a dental exam, to look for any existing cavities. If we can catch a cavity early, we prevent tooth decay from spreading. At All Smiles Jacksonville, we also offer dental sealants and fluoride treatments for your teeth. These forms of preventative dentistry can save your smile.

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