How to Prevent Dental Cavities
Posted on: Monday, April 10th, 2017
A healthy mouth is an essential component to a healthy body, but it is all too easy for cavities to sneak up and surprise you. Since the best way to treat cavities is to simply prevent them in the first place, these tips and tricks can help you keep your teeth clear of harmful plaque, bacteria, and acid.
What Are Cavities?
First, it helps to understand how and why cavities form. Bacteria always exists naturally in the mouth, but when too much bacteria accumulates on the surface of a tooth due to negligent oral cleaning habits, it leads to the formation of plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance that is difficult to remove without the professional help of a dentist. If plaque is left unattended for too long, it will break down the natural minerals on the surface of the tooth and cause small pits to form. These pits of decay and infection are known as cavities. When cavities remain in the mouth for long periods of time without being treated, the infection can lead to serious damage that causes intense pain and requires the tooth to be extracted.
The Best Ways to Prevent Cavities
Your oral hygiene and dietary habits are the most important components of cavity prevention. Be sure to brush and floss at least twice a day. Rather than brushing and flossing after you eat breakfast, start your oral care routine immediately after you wake up. This will clear away any bacteria that accumulated overnight and give your teeth extra protection during your first meal of the day.
As for your eating habits, try to limit the amount of refined sugars that you eat, since they are more likely to generate plaque than healthier options like nuts, whole grains, and vegetables. Replacing sugary drinks with water will help clean bacteria out of the mouth, and indulging in green or black tea each day will also suppress bacteria levels in the mouth.
In addition, it can also help to chew sugar-free gum because gum stimulates the production of saliva, which in turn helps prevent bacteria from sticking on the teeth. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that also prevents the growth of bacteria in the mouth, and it can often be found in gum or added into natural sweeteners or toothpaste. Another cavity prevention measure that is growing in popularity is called oil pulling, which involves swishing coconut oil around in the mouth for 20 minutes to pull all of the harmful bacteria out of the mouth. Adding a few drops of tea tree essential oil to coconut oil during pulling, or simply diluting it into water and rinsing, also lends powerful anti-bacterial properties to the mouth.
Good pH balance in the mouth
Maintaining a good pH balance in the mouth allows it to be healthy. Balancing the pH of the mouth may be one efficient way to reduce bacteria that can cause tooth decay. There are several ways to balance pH including consumption of alkaline foods, reducing consumption of foods that lower the pH of the mouth, and of course regular dental care.
Certain foods, such as sugary beverages, snacks, and some grains, increase the acidity in the mouth. The pH of the mouth can change dramatically with the types of foods we eat. Foods that are highly acidic, like lemons, lowers the pH, while foods like melons increases the pH. To boost alkalinity add the veggies to your diet, limit the breads, say no to artificial sweeteners and limit coffee and alcohol.
The easy and accurate way to measure your pH level is by using pH strips, pH test strips provide a convenient method for you to monitor your pH levels in the privacy of your own home and get fast results. Using either saliva or urine you can test your pH to determine if your body is too acidic. Optimal levels for urine pH generally fall into the 6.8 to 7.2 range and for saliva 7.2.
By implementing strategic dietary and oral care habits, you can keep your mouth strong, healthy, and free from cavities. Natural and Cosmetic Dentistry is an experienced holistic dentists practice in the Clearwater, Florida and Tampa Bay area that can safely and naturally help you maintain strong, healthy teeth. Give us a call today at 727-888-6523 to schedule your first appointment and discover how holistic dentistry can transform both your oral and overall wellness.