How do I stop getting cavities?
This blog post will address the topic, “how do I stop getting cavities?” and cover topics like how cavities develop, can you stop a cavity once it starts, can you tell if you have a cavity by looking at it, signs & symptoms that tell you that you have a cavity and does cavity always represent bad oral hygiene.
How Do I Stop Getting Cavities?
Maintaining good oral and dental hygiene can help you to stop getting cavities. Good oral hygiene can be obtained through:
- Tooth brushing twice daily – Brushing twice a day, once in the morning and once at night before going to bed, for two minutes is essential to prevent plaque build up and thereby prevent tooth decay.
- Use Fluoride Toothpaste – Fluoride can greatly help achieve oral and dental health by strengthening the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay. Fluoride reduces the amount of acid produced by the bacteria on your mouth.
- Floss daily – According to a study, flossing is highly effective in reducing the interproximal caries risk. Daily floss can help stimulate your gums and reduce plaque leading to lesser inflammation risk.
- Occasional use of therapeutic mouthwash containing active ingredients – Therapeutic mouthwashes as the name suggests have therapeutic action and control dental conditions like gingivitis, tooth decay and periodontal diseases.
- Oil Pulling – A study concluded oil pulling using coconut oil to be an effective procedure in decreasing plaque formation and plaque induced gingivitis. Similarly other studies have also found oil pulling to be an effective and safe procedure to reduce plaque accumulation and thus heal small cavities naturally.
- Eat Foods Rich In Calcium, Magnesium And Phosphorus – Calcium and magnesium plays an important role in enamel remineralization and saliva production. Calcium rich foods like cauliflower, nuts, salmon and figs, helps in optimal saliva production that acts as a natural cleanser and prevents plaque accumulation and thus cavity formation.
- Vitamin D rich diet or vitamin D supplements prevent cavities from forming – According to research, children with vitamin D deficiency had an increased risk of developing enamel defects and tooth fracture. Another clinical trial reported vitamin D to be a prominent agent for caries prevention.
- Avoid frequent snacking – Frequent snacking in between meals increases the risk of getting cavities, as the simple carbohydrates in these snacks provide a perfect breeding ground for cavity-causing bacteria.
- Avoid brushing teeth just after having acidic foods or drinks – You must wait for 30 minutes to one hour after consumption of acidic foods and drinks. The acid in the food or drink otherwise may erode the enamel layer and regular habit may cause exposed dentin leading to pain and sensitivity and increased risk of developing cavities.
- Use Gentle And Short Strokes When Brushing – Use gentle, short strokes to brush your front teeth and thoroughly clean your mouth without abrading the enamel and preventing cavities from developing.
- Consult Your Dentist Twice In A Year – It is important to get your oral health checked twice every year with an interval of 6 months between two visits.
- Dental Cleaning Once In 6 Months To Prevent Cavities Formation – Dental cleaning can help in removing the plaque and tartar and thus prevent formation of a cavity or decay or gum disease or periodontal disease of any type.
- Simple rinse with water each time after you have food – You must also clean your teeth and gums, each time after you have food but not with a toothbrush. Simple rinse with water is considered good for overall oral health and hygiene.
- Get those pits and grooves sealed to prevent formation of cavities – If you keep getting cavities even if you brush and floss your teeth, there may be several pits and grooves present on the occlusal surface of your teeth. The food particles get stuck in these pits and grooves, not possible to remove from brushing, resulting in plaque buildup, acid attacks on enamel by plaque bacteria and finally cavities formation.
How Does A Cavity Develop?
Consumption of sugary and starch rich foods expose the tooth to acids frequently, resulting in mineral loss from the enamel.
Infrequent tooth brushing habits cause poor oral hygiene, resulting in plaque accumulation.
Plaque is a sticky film containing bacteria that coats the protective enamel of your teeth. These bacteria produce acids by breaking down the food debris and the acids penetrate the enamel leading to formation of white spots on the teeth.
Appearance of white spot is an indication of the start of tooth cavity formation and can be reversed at this point.
Ignoring it and continuing with the poor oral hygiene can cause more frequent acid attacks and finally destroying the enamel leading to formation of cavities.
A cavity is a permanent damage of the enamel layer that needs to be repaired by using filling materials like composite or porcelain or an amalgam.
Can you stop a cavity when it starts?
Yes, a cavity can be stopped in its earliest stage once it starts. Preventive actions like toothbrushing with a fluoride toothpaste, daily flossing and mouthwash can reverse the cavity formation in this stage.
Cavities can also be stopped with the use of a new treatment called silver diamine fluoride (SDF). Silver Diamine Fluoride is a liquid that can be applied to halt the progress of cavities in all age groups.
A 2009 published study recommends 38% SDF in cases where restorative treatment is not an option. However, it may not be helpful in cases of pain and sensitivity due to pulpal infection.
Can You Tell If You Have A Cavity By Looking At It?
Yes, you can tell if you have a cavity by looking at it. A cavity looks like a hole on the tooth through which you may see the bottom of the tooth with the help of a dental mirror.
Dental Cavity or tooth cavity, is a hole that develops on the surface of the tooth due to loss of mineral content from the enamel, resulting from the repeated acid attack by the plaque bacteria.
When you see a hole in your teeth or darkening of the teeth, you must consult your dentist as it may be a cavity.
Signs & Symptoms That Tell You That You Have A Cavity
If you have a cavity, you might notice some of these signs and symptoms:
- Holes in your teeth.
- Sudden pain and sensitivity to drinking or eating something cold or hot.
- Sensitivity on eating sweets or acidic drinks.
- Pain on biting.
- Fracturing of teeth upon normal biting.
- Blackening or brown stains on teeth
Cavities: Does It Always Indicate Bad Oral Hygiene?
No, cavities may not always mean bad hygiene. Cavity may even form in those who brush and floss daily and maintain good oral hygiene.
Cavity may not always mean bad or poor oral hygiene and may be a result of incorrect brushing or flossing, or incorrect timing of brushing like just after acidic foods or drinks, or may also occur due to continuous use of highly abrasive toothpaste.
This blog post addressed the topic, “how do I stop getting cavities”. We understood what steps you need to take to stop getting cavities, how cavities develop and if you can stop a cavity once it is formed. The article outlined ways to tell if you have a cavity by looking at it, signs & symptoms of a cavity and if cavity always represents bad oral hygiene.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs): How Do I Stop Getting Cavities
Does Brushing Your Teeth Everyday Prevent Cavities?
Yes, brushing your teeth twice everyday for two minutes each time, prevents plaque buildup and is regarded as the simplest way of preventing cavities.
When And How Often Should You Brush Your Teeth To Prevent Cavities?
It is recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time with a toothpaste containing fluoride.
It is recommended to brush your teeth twice a day, once in the morning, just after waking up and once at night, just before going to bed.
You must also clean your teeth and gums, each time after you have food but not with a toothbrush. Simple rinse with water is considered good for overall oral health and hygiene.
While considering when to brush your teeth, you must keep in mind the type of food you just had.
Do not brush immediately after having any acidic food or drink as these acids weaken tooth enamel, and brushing immediately can cause enamel wearing or erosion making your teeth more susceptible to developing cavities.
When Is The Best Time To Brush My Teeth To Stop Cavities Formation?
Morning Vs. Night
While it is recommended to brush your teeth twice a day, in the morning when you wake up and at night before you go to bed, brushing at night is actually more beneficial.
It is actually better to brush in the night because the saliva production reduces significantly at night. This makes the plaque formation and bacterial attack to your tooth enamel more significant and cause more damage.
During the day, saliva production is optimum. Saliva has antibacterial properties and also acid neutralizing action. Thus, plaque formation is not much significant during the day.
Just After Meal Or Delay Brushing After Meal
You must wait for 30 minutes after consumption of acidic foods and drinks. The acid in the food or drink otherwise may erode the enamel layer and regular habit may cause exposed dentin leading to pain and sensitivity.
What Is The Correct Brushing Technique To Stop Getting Cavities?
Here is how you can brush your teeth two times a day with correct technique and avoid formation of cavity and dental decay:
- Use a small amount of water to lubricate your brush.
- Put a small, pea-size amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush head.
- At about a 45-degree angle to your gums , place the toothbrush into your mouth
- Use gentle, short strokes to brush your front teeth.
- Brush the outside surfaces as well as the back molars and upper areas of your chewing surfaces.
- Brush the inside surfaces of both top and bottom front teeth by flipping your toothbrush upside down.
- Brush your tongue to get rid of any bacteria or plaque.
- Spit out the remaining toothpaste, saliva, and water into the sink.
- Rinse your mouth with cold water and you are done.
When And How Often Should Children Brush Their Teeth To Stop Getting Cavities?
It is important for infants and children to prevent cavities and maintain good oral hygiene for a good overall health and development.
Use a soft-bristled infant toothbrush with a rice grain size of fluoride toothpaste for brushing their teeth.
Children 3 to 6 years old can brush their teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once at night, for 2 minutes each time using a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste.
It is important to supervise the brushing sessions of Infants and children, to prevent them from swallowing the fluoride toothpaste.
Which Is More Beneficial In Preventing Cavities: Manual Or Electric Toothbrush?
A 2014 study concluded that electric toothbrushes with rotating heads may be more effective in cavities prevention by reducing plaque and gingivitis more than manual brushes in the short and long term.
However, it is important to choose your toothbrush according to your mouth and gum condition.
If using a manual toothbrush, a soft-bristled toothbrush is good to clean your teeth as using a hard-bristled toothbrush may abrade the enamel and lead to dental abrasion and recession of gums.
Replace your toothbrush after every 3 months or as soon as you notice the bristles of your toothbrush beginning to bend, fray, and wear out.
Other FAQs about Teeth Cavities that you may be interested in.
Cavities/tooth decay – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic
The Tooth Decay Process: How to Reverse It and Avoid a Cavity. (2018)
11 Ways to Keep Your Teeth Healthy. (2019)
Can You Reverse a Cavity? (2020)
Can You Cure Tooth Decay (Cavities) Naturally?
Cavities – How to Tell if You Have One – WebMD