Cavity. A word synonymous with negative feelings, anxiety, and all things not appealing. When folks walk into our Rock Hill office, one of the common goals they have is to receive a cavity free report at the end of their visit. Parents and kids alike know this to be true! So, this month in the blog let’s talk about cavity prevention and what we can do to stay cavity free!
Some of what we are going to talk about here, are things that we covered last year in our blog about smiling your way to a great first impression, but are important to continually bring to the forefront of our attention. To give ourselves the best chance to avoid a tooth cavity, or multiple cavities, there are a few things we can do.
Brush, floss AND mouthwash
Like your favorite pair of jeans, this tip never goes out of style. Most people are really good at doing one of these three things, but it is less common for us to hear about people who regularly tackle all three. If you want to avoid your next tooth cavity, here is little spin on each one to help you reach that goal.
Brush quickly after you eat or drink
Okay, so brushing your teeth to prevent cavities is a pretty obvious one, but how often do you think about the time that passes between when you eat/drink, to when you brush? Most people brush their teeth twice per day, once in the morning and once before bed, but in reality, we should aim to brush our teeth as soon after eating or drinking as possible. The longer food/drink sits on, around and between your teeth, the more time it has to do damage. While this sounds easy, it sometimes takes planning, especially around lunch, to make sure we are getting in that brushing as quickly as possible. If you can’t brush in the middle of the day, a couple alternatives are simply rinsing with water, or if you have it, with mouthwash. Whatever the case, do your best to build a habit of brushing as soon as possible after eating/drinking!
Floss but don’t “saw”
As you know, dental floss is able to reach the tiny crevices between your teeth that a toothbrush can’t. That is a big reason it helps us prevent tooth cavities. While simply taking the time to floss is a great first step, you may not know though is that your technique can effect the actual benefit you receive from flossing.
One of the most common techniques we see when people floss, is that they thread the floss through their teeth and then “saw” back and forth. This can actually be harmful as it can abrade the tooth and could ultimately result in creating a groove in the tooth. The right way to floss is to start at the top of the tooth near the gum line, and bring the floss down. Then, move onto a clean part of the floss and go to the next tooth. You don’t want to use the same part of the floss, because after one use, it is covered with plaque. Reusing it would just be adding to the bacteria that is already there.
Mouthwash with fluoride
While mouthwash is great for fighting bad breath and aiding floss to clean between your teeth, it is also a great source of fluoride for your teeth (when you pick a mouthwash that has fluoride). Fluoride is important because it works with saliva to protect tooth enamel from plaque and sugars. With stronger enamel your teeth are less susceptible to cavities and you are more likely to get that good report when you visit the dentist.
What you eat matters
That’s right, cavities are as much about what we eat as they are how we clean our teeth. As we mentioned in an earlier article, paying attention to your diet is critical to great oral health. You may be surprised by some of the foods that are on the “bad” list. Foods such as bananas, bread, dried fruit, and pretzels are amongst the foods that do more to promote cavities. Teeth friendly choices would be chicken and other meats, which protect enamel, as well as fruits such as apples and pears because of their high water content. If you’d like examples of the good and the bad, check out this article.
So, as you start thinking about your next trip to see us in our Rock Hill dentist office, remember these tips to a cavity free visit! Brush quickly after eating, floss with technique, find fluoride mouthwash, and incorporate teeth friendly foods into your diet!