Ouch! Cavities are never fun. They are extremely common and can happen to anyone. Luckily, you don’t have to leave it up to chance! Here’s how you can lower your risk of developing this form of tooth decay.
What causes cavities?
First of all﹘ let’s talk about what a cavity is and how it happens. Your teeth are porous and covered in enamel that protects them. If your enamel is compromised, bacteria can get into the open pores and eat away at the tooth over time causing a small hole (a cavity). If cavities become deep enough to reach the very center of the tooth (the pulp), it can cause an infection, resulting in the need for a root canal.
5 Tips to Avoid Cavities
- Drink Up. Staying hydrated is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Humans are made up of 70% water, so we need to consume a lot of it to make up for what we lose. Drinking lots of water is great for your teeth too! H2O helps to stave off dry mouth and washes away food debris and bacteria from the surface of your teeth and tongue. This makes it harder for harmful microscopic visitors to stay and do damage.
- Avoid sticky snacks. Let’s face it, sticky normally means sugary. Sticky, tacky treats like caramels, gummy candy, and taffy are horrible for your teeth. They can hang around on the surface of your teeth for hours after you’ve finished enjoying them and are a buffet for decay-causing bacteria.
- Beware of acid. High amounts of acidic foods can eat away at your tooth enamel over time. Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges are relatively high in acid. But as long as you drink plenty of water and brush your teeth after consuming these foods, you should be okay. More concentrated forms of acid, like citric acid, can be more harmful in the long run. Citric acid is often used in sour candies, which are doubly bad for the health of your teeth.
- Look for the right kind of crunch. Regularly consuming raw fruits and veggies is great for your teeth. These foods are high in tooth-healthy vitamins and their coarse texture and high water content naturally cleans teeth. Crunchy, carb-heavy snacks such as potato chips don’t have the same benefits. Carbs are just another form of sugar, so when starchy debris gets stuck between teeth, bacteria will have a field day!
- Practice good habits. No matter how great your diet is, you still need a good dental health routine to back it up. Great oral health habits include brushing for two minutes two to three times a day using a fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and seeing your dentist at least once every six months. (Is it time for your next check up?)