As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is especially true when it comes to your oral health. Cavity prevention starts at home 100% of the time. Cavities are permanently damaged holes (aka: cavities) that develop in the tooth enamel. They are caused by acid producing bacteria that attach themselves to the teeth and eat away at the hard surface. Cavities are one of the most common health concerns all across the world, and millions of Americans each year suffer from this form of tooth decay. Your best protection against cavities and tooth decay is prevention.
Regular dental care at home and a healthy diet are the most helpful methods of preventing cavities on a day to day basis. While regular dental cleanings and checkups are extremely important, it is the choices that you make every day that have the greatest impact on your oral health.
Never skip flossing or brushing your teeth. Naturally occurring bacteria are present inside every living mouth. They are there to help break down food particles that are left behind after eating. While these bacteria have a useful purpose, they need to be flushed out of the mouth on a regular basis before they begin destructive damage. All foods contain some sugar content, and it is these sugars that attract bacteria. A healthy diet generally wards off excess bacteria from the mouth because there are not excess sugars to attack. However, soft drinks, desserts, fruits (even though they are healthy, they have a high natural sugar content), candy, fruit snacks, popcorn – all of these invite a congregation of bacteria to develop inside the mouth. Bacteria feed on the sugars that are in the foods, and when they begin feeding they begin producing acids. It is these acids that do the actual damage. The acids produce plaque, the sticky white film that covers the teeth, and attack the teeth.
Flossing and brushing are essential to stopping the destruction that bacteria and acids can quickly do inside the mouth. Brushing removes the plaque from the outer surface of the teeth, but only floss can remove plaque from the tight spaces between teeth and at the gum line. It is imperative to your oral health that these two steps never be ignored or put off. Going to bed without brushing or flossing is simply inviting an assault on your teeth from the bacteria and acids that are produced in the mouth. It is these simple tasks that, repeated consistently, will prevent more cavities than anything else.
At Riverheart Family Dentistry, we want to partner with you in cavity prevention so that you have the best chance of achieving optimal oral health. Contact our practice today to schedule an appointment.