The prevalence of cavities is not entirely determined by genetics, but there are some factors that increase your risk of developing cavities. These factors include age, poor oral hygiene, and diabetes. The key is to avoid or limit these risk factors to prevent cavities. Fortunately, there are many simple ways to reduce the risk of developing cavities.
Bacteria that cause tooth decay feed on sugar in the mouth and other sources of carbohydrates, including sugar in food. When this happens, bacteria create acids that wear away enamel. These acids, along with poor dental hygiene, will result in cavities and can eventually spread to the jaw bone or even the bloodstream. The good news is that cavities are preventable with proper diet and regular dental visits.
Flossing is essential for the health of your teeth, as it removes the tartar and plaque buildup that causes cavities. Regular flossing also helps remove acids. In addition, drinking fluoridated tap water is helpful to protect against cavities. Moreover, you can use mouthwash that contains fluoride to keep your teeth healthy.
Sugary beverages, such as fruit juices and sports drinks, are bad for your teeth. Sugars in these beverages feed bacteria that produce acid. Therefore, it’s crucial to limit your child’s consumption of these beverages. Similarly, infants who drink juices before going to bed can also be at risk. For this reason, parents should make sure that their children begin drinking from cups by the age of one.
Regular dental visits will help detect cavities in their early stages, which saves more tooth structure and reduces the risk of the cavity spreading to the pulp. Dentists probe teeth with dental instruments and may take x-rays. In addition, some dentists use special dyes and fiberoptic lights to detect cavities. Depending on your risk for developing cavities, you should visit your dentist every three to 12 months.
Foods high in sugar and starch are also a risk factor for cavities. Sugar and simple starches feed bacteria that cause tooth decay. It’s also important to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and consume a calcium-rich diet. Also, limiting snacking will help you maintain a healthy diet.
While there are numerous ways to prevent cavities, the most important is to keep your teeth clean. Brushing and flossing should be part of your regular dental hygiene routine. Even if you’re not brushing and flossing daily, a regular dental exam will detect tooth decay early and prevent it from becoming a large issue.