Approximately 1% of the world’s population is naturally immune to dental caries, the disease we commonly refer to as tooth decay. That means a lucky few will never have to worry about developing cavities. For the rest of us, tooth decay is a serious issue, one that can lead to costly dental work, discomfort, damaged teeth, and even permanent tooth loss. While nothing is ever 100% certain, following a basic regimen of good dental hygiene, eating a healthy diet, and visiting the dentist for regular preventive dental care are your best bets for cavity-proofing your smile for life.
Follow Good Dental Hygiene Practices . . . Consistently!
The American Dental Association, the national experts on oral health, strongly recommend that children, teens, adults, and seniors brush their teeth at least two times a day (but, ideally, after every meal) for about two minutes per brushing session to remove plaque, food particles, and bacteria. In addition, flossing once a day (the ADA recommends doing this right before bedtime) helps to get rid of plaque and other gunk between the teeth, where toothbrushes can’t reach.
It’s important to note that to truly cavity-proof your smile, you need to practice these good dental hygiene habits every day.
Minimize Your Daily Intake of Sugar
When we eat sugary foods and drinks, the bacteria in our mouth rejoice, especially the S. mutans strain of bacteria that’s responsible for causing tooth decay. These bacteria feed on sugar and excrete a highly acidic and smelly substance that causes bad breath and eats away at our tooth enamel. By minimizing the amount of sugar you consume, you’re reducing the food supply of this harmful bacteria. Some simple swaps like using artificial sweetener in your tea or coffee, cutting back on sodas, and chewing on sugarfree gum rather than grabbing a treat from the candy bowl at work are just a few simple ways to cut the sugar.
Keep an Expert in Your Corner
The third rule of cavity-proofing your smile is perhaps the easiest, because you only need to do it twice a year: visit a licensed general dentist for regular preventive checkups and cleanings. At these appointments, your dentist will be able to closely examine your mouth, identify any problem areas, and provide the most conservative treatment possible to address those problems. Additionally, your dental hygienist will provide you with a professional cleaning that removes any lingering plaque or tartar and gives your smile a smooth polished feel.