By Bailey Crow, DMD
Did you know that approximately 91 percent of the population has tooth decay? No one wants to experience the discomfort that comes with tooth decay and cavities, but unfortunately these issues are all too common. The good news is that there are simple things you can do each day to prevent cavities — see below for seven dental hygiene habits that will help:
- Brush your teeth. Of course, a list of healthy dental-hygiene habits must include the most obvious one of all – brush your teeth! Brushing your teeth for two minutes, at least two times per day, removes food debris and bacteria that build up and cause damage to your teeth. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush softly across your teeth, and don’t forget to brush your tongue.
- Drink water. A dry mouth contributes to tooth decay (and bad breath). Drinking water is a healthy habit for a number of reasons, but it also helps prevent cavities by washing away food in your mouth. Tap water also contains fluoride, which can reverse the effects of tooth decay.
- Change your toothbrush. Did you know that your toothbrush should be changed every two months? The same harmful bacteria that builds up in your mouth also builds up on your brush. You don’t want to use a dirty brush to clean your teeth! Also, bristles wear down over time and become less effective for cleaning the teeth.
- Limit snacking. Snacking all day exposes your teeth to acid-causing agents like sugar and carbohydrates for an extended period of time. If you must snack, raw vegetables are your best bet.
- Floss. Food that gets stuck between the teeth cannot always be removed by brushing alone. Food left in between teeth cause bacteria to release acids that wear down the enamel and lead to painful cavities and sensitivity. Floss your teeth each time you brush!
- Eat the right foods. Raw vegetables like carrots and celery act as a cleaning mechanism for your teeth. Fruits like apples increase saliva production, which helps wash away harmful bacteria. Avoid sugary foods!
- Visit your dentist. Making and keeping your twice-yearly appointments with your dentist is critical. When you visit the dentist, your teeth get a deeper cleaning than at home. If any plaque has built up, your dentist can remove it before it leads to a cavity or other dental issue. It’s always advisable to get a check up to make sure everything in your mouth is clean and healthy!
These habits will help you avoid cavities and keep a healthy smile for life. If you have not had a routine cleaning and exam within the past six months, call us today to schedule your appointment!