How can I prevent cavities?

Good oral hygiene including cleaning between the teeth with floss or other interdental device, as advised by your dental professional, is the best defense against decay. In addition, proper diet and brushing following eating are very important to minimize the attack of decay causing foods on the teeth.


Picture of brushing teeth
Rita Medwid

Keeping your mouth at a neutral ph will help prevent cavities. Avoid snacking and sipping throughout the day. These make your mouth more acidic, which weakens the enamel. After you eat or drink sodas, or power drinks, wait 20 minute then brush, or chew sugar free gum to stimulate your saliva flow. The saliva has a balanced ph and will neutralize the acid. Then you should floss and brush. Avoid brushing immediately after drinking soda (diet or regular), since you will help erode the enamel with the acid. Once the enamel is weakened, you are prone to more cavities.

Brushing your teeth at least three times a day -- to remove plaque -- is the easiest way to prevent cavities. Brushing is especially important after eating and before bed. It is also important to floss at least once a day to remove plaque between your teeth. The best brush has soft bristles and try to use it at an angle of about 45 degrees toward the gum-line. A good tip is to brush for about the length of one song (3 minutes). Your dentist or hygienist also can help you with proper brushing methods.

Another good tip to reduce the possibility of cavities is to reduce the amount and frequency of eating sugary foods. If you are going to drink a can of soda, for instance, it is better to drink it in one sitting, than it is to sip it throughout the day. Even better is to drink it through a straw to bypass the teeth altogether. Seeing the dentist at least twice a year, for examinations and professional cleanings, is critical.

Use toothpaste and mouthwash that contain fluoride. Fluoride also is added to most tap water supplies and mouth rinses to reduce cavities. The fluoride becomes incorporated into our teeth as they develop, therefore it makes them more resistant to decay. After teeth are formed, fluoride can reverse the progression of early cavities. Sometimes, it can prevent the need for corrective dental treatment.

The dental procedure for sealants also can help reduce cavities on back teeth. The sealant is a white resin material used to blanket the tooth and protect its vulnerable pits and fissures. Dentists routinely place sealants on children's teeth to prevent cavities on newly developing molars. Sealants can be a cost-effective way to reduce cavities in adults as well, though they generally are not used on teeth that already have fillings.
The best way to prevent cavities is by having good oral hygiene. Good oral hygiene means brushing your teeth after meals, choosing healthy foods, and drinking the right amount of tap water. Regular visits to the dentist are also an effective way to prevent cavities.

Picture of brushing teeth
Tom Berry
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

Good oral hygiene is the first line of defense against dental caries. Brushing the teeth and tongue twice daily along with flossing is very important. Along those lines, schedule regular visits with your dentist for professional cleanings at least twice yearly.

The best way to prevent cavities is by good oral hygiene. Good oral hygiene means carefully brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day for at least two minutes and flossing once a day. It is also important to. choose healthy foods and drinks that are low in sugar. Regular visits to the dentist are also an effective way to help prevent cavities.
To prevent cavities, brush your teeth twice a day, use floss or another between-the-teeth cleaner once a day, visit your dentist regularly and avoid frequent between-meal snacks. Look for products that display the American Dental Association's (ADA) Seal of Acceptance, which tells you that the product meets ADA standards for safety and effectiveness.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.