Getting a cavity will likely happen at some point in everyone’s life. Cavities are tiny holes or openings that form on a decayed area of your tooth. They occur when bacteria builds up on your teeth and turns into plaque. The acids in plaque de-mineralize your enamel, which is made up of calcium and phosphate, thus causing the tooth to decay and form a cavity. There are three main types of cavities: those that occur on the smooth side of your teeth, fissure/pit cavities that form on the chewing surface, and root cavities that form on the roots. What can you do for cavity prevention?
Cavity Prevention at Home
The best way to fight cavities at home is to learn how to prevent them. Sugary drinks, candy, and processed food are all terrible for your teeth. These sugars are more likely to stick to your teeth. The same goes for sugary drinks or drinking too many acidic drinks — these cause the acidic build-up to become more severe, eroding your enamel faster. To prevent cavities from forming, it’s important that you pay attention to how many sugar products you’re consuming in a day, quit smoking, and practice good oral hygiene by flossing and brushing at least twice a day.
If a cavity has already developed by penetrating the dentin layer of your tooth, there, unfortunately, isn’t a way to get rid of it. However, for those teeth that haven’t crossed that line, but are on their way to, there are ways that you can treat these “pre-cavities” and remineralize your enamel. Here are some ways to do so:
Taking a daily vitamin D supplement or making sure you’re incorporating it more through your diet is a good way for cavity prevention. Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium and phosphate, which is essentially what enamel is made up of. By increasing the calcium and phosphate in your diet, you’re strengthening your enamel. If supplements aren’t your thing, you can try getting vitamin D from dairy products like yogurt, milk, or cheese.
Fluoride Toothpaste and Mouthwash
Brushing & rinsing with toothpaste and mouthwash that contains fluoride is highly beneficial for cavity prevention. Fluoride is proven to help remineralize your enamel.
Oil pulling has recently become more popular, but it’s been around for centuries. The act involves swishing a bit of liquid coconut oil in your mouth for about 20 minutes. When you do this, the oil quite literally “pulls” the toxins and plaque built up on your teeth. Doing this once a week will aid in preventing cavities from forming.
Licorice root is an old way to help fight against tooth decay. Naturally, licorice extract works to reduce certain bacteria in the mouth. By chewing on some licorice or having a licorice lollipop every once in a while, you’ll be doing your teeth a good service.
Switch Out Your Toothbrush
Many people will go months or even an entire year with the same toothbrush. Even if you brush gently and your toothbrush still looks brand new, what you’re not seeing is all the bacteria that end up living on it over time. It’s a good standard rule to switch out your toothbrush about every 3 months.
Cut Out the Sugar
Cutting out sugary foods and drinks will not only have a positive effect on your teeth, but it will also increase your general well-being. Sugar deteriorates both our teeth and body, especially refined sugars and sugar from processed foods. Reducing your sugar intake will cause less bacteria and plaque build-up on your teeth and improve your immunity all-together.
Many people enjoy the act of chewing gum, but most gum is filled with terrible sugars that end up hanging out as bacteria on your teeth. Sugar-free gum, on the other hand, actually helps remineralize your enamel. This is because the act of chewing gum stimulates alive, thus causing the bacteria on your teeth to be washed away. Chewing gum between meals is a great way to remove any plaque that could potentially hang around until you’re able to brush your teeth.
If these at-home cavity prevention remedies aren’t cutting it, your best option is to seek out a professional Los Angeles periodontist. Call Dr. Kao today to schedule an appointment and get rid of cavities.