We all hope to hear the words “you’re cavity-free!” every time we visit the dentist. Unfortunately, while many people strive to keep their teeth healthy and bright, cavities are a common problem. The good news is, there are lots of things you can do to help prevent them. Here are 5 ways to avoid cavities that actually work.

1. Brush After Each Meal

Dentists recommend brushing your teeth with a soft bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste after each meal or 3 times a day. It may seem simple, but this is one of the best ways to avoid cavities because it helps to clean away food debris, bacteria and plaque that can lead to cavities. Make sure to brush for 2 minutes each time to ensure thoroughness in every area of your mouth.

2. Floss Daily

Flossing is another simple but very effective way to prevent cavities. Flossing is important because brushing alone may only reach 60% of the surface area of your teeth. Flossing reaches in between your teeth and under your gum line where cavity-causing debris can accumulate unnoticed.

3. Choose Sugar-free

When choosing drinks, food, snacks and treats, it can make a big difference to select sugar-free options. Sugar is a big culprit that causes cavities because when sugar combines with the saliva in your mouth, it produces an acid that can erode your enamel, leading to cavities.

4. Use Fluoride

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods, but many people don’t get enough of it. Why is it important? Because it works to strengthen your teeth, prevent cavities, and reduce sensitivity. That’s why it’s important to use a toothpaste with fluoride. If you’re concerned you may still not be getting enough, you can ask your dentist about more concentrated fluoride treatments that can be applied after professional dental cleanings.

5. Get Regular Cleanings and Exams

There are many effective ways to avoid cavities that you can put into practice at home, but it’s still important to see your dentist for regular cleanings and exams. A professional cleaning can help to remove tartar and stains that can’t be removed by brushing and flossing alone as well as to spot difficult-to-reach spots where plaque tends to accumulate before it causes trouble. An exam is also important so that your dentist can check your gums and take an x-ray of the inside of your teeth and jaw to ensure that no problems develop beneath the surface and out of sight.

Dentists typically recommend a professional cleaning and exam every 6 months to ensure that any potential issues are caught early before they can turn into problems, although recommendations may be determined by multiple factors such as age, pre-existing conditions and home care routine, so it’s always best to check with your dentist to find out how often cleanings and exams are recommended for you.

Call our Louetta, Katy, Spring or Magnolia dental offices to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.