Your Five Weapons to Fight Cavities
Yes, we know you’ve been told this hundreds of times. But the fact is, brushing and flossing every day is still one of the easiest and most effective ways to fight off cavities and keep your teeth healthy.
And – and it helps with bad breath too!
When you brush and floss, you dislodge the plaque and remove anything that provides a place for it to grow. We agree with the American Dental Association’s recommendation of brushing your teeth at least twice each day and flossing at least once each day.
But, I don’t like to floss!
Yes, we hear this all the time too. Trust us, it is time well spent, and it only takes a few minutes.
Here is why it is important to floss:
Even the best brushing is not able to reach in between your teeth to remove all of the cavity causing food and plaque. Think of this way: your teeth have 5 sides. With brushing alone, you are only cleaning 3 of those sides, and probably missing a lot of the food particles that stick in between your teeth. Without flossing, they build up over time to harm your teeth and gums.
And remember, flossing only takes a few minutes a day – what else can you do for just a few minutes that can improve your health so much?
So, how do you start the flossing habit? Ideally, you should floss soon after a meal, or before bedtime, as with brushing your tooth. However, flossing is actually easier and more convenient because you can do it on the go. It’s really just like any other healthy habit – the key is starting small, and developing a routine that sticks.
Secret Weapon #2: Drink plenty of water
Water is important for every aspect of your health, and it provides a special boost to teeth. Water helps wash away acid produced by plaque. Sugary beverages like juice and sports drinks just provide food for the bacteria, and fizzy drinks like soda are acidic and erode the teeth on their own.
And, it stimulates saliva to help wash away bacteria and acids, it also helps reduce staining of your enamel. If you up your water intake, you’ll find your teeth looking better and yourself feeling more energetic!
Secret Weapon #3: Eating more mouth healthy foods
Some of the best foods for healthy teeth are fresh fruits and veggies because of their nutritional and mouth health benefits. For example, crisp fruits and raw vegetables, like apples, carrots and celery, help clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath. Many fruits and vegetable contain lots of antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin C, that help protect gums and other tissues from cell damage and bacterial infection. Leafy salad greens contain lots of folic acid, a member of the B vitamin family, which promotes a healthy mouth and supports cell growth throughout the entire body.
Snack and rinse
When you snack, you’re giving those plaque causing bacteria a steady stream of food, which means that the acid it makes sits on your teeth longer between brushing. Therefore, the more we snack the more prone we are to getting cavities.
It’s a good idea to brush or rinse after snacking to help prevent this. So, drink some water or other healthy beverages in between snacks to wash away food particles left behind.
As with overall health, the nutritional content of those mid-day snacks also play an important role in your oral health. Sugary meals and snack lower the ph in our mouth and increase the risk of tooth decay. More nutritious snacks like nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, and dairy products like cheese are a more healthy option for teeth and gums because they are low in sugar and a good source of protein and calcium.
Secret Weapon #4: Get that saliva working for you
Believe it or not, saliva is your mouth’s most powerful natural defense against decay. This is because saliva contains important elements such as bicarbonate, calcium, and phosphate. These compounds not only neutralize plaque acids, but also help repair early tooth damage and decay.
Secret Weapon #5: Regular visits to the dentist
Even with great dental hygiene habits, it’s hard to remove all of the plaque buildup at home. That is because plaque is stuck firmly to your teeth, and becomes harder to remove over time, even with good brushing and flossing habits. And, plaque may develop below your gums where your brush and floss won’t reach.
Regular dental exams and cleanings are vital to maintaining good overall mouth health. Even with healthy teeth, regular dentist visits can help to catch decay and other oral health issues early, and prevent the need for more painful and expensive procedures.