Preventing cavities takes work, both on your behalf and your dental team. What are cavities, and how can they affect your smile? Cavities are holes that develop in your teeth from plaque. Plaque is that sticky bacterial film that coats the teeth and gums, and is a reaction to the sugars in the foods we eat and drink. The bacteria create acids that erodes tooth enamel with time, allowing cavities to form.

When your dentist clears out the decay in a tooth, it leaves a hole behind, which we call a cavity. Cavities can develop in varies places on a tooth, whether it be the top or biting surface, such as the molars, or between the teeth from lack of flossing. If you have gum disease, or your gums are receding with age, cavities may form on the root surfaces of your teeth as well.

Now, you are not just at the mercy of this dental plaque, you do have a line of defense you can employ. First, you can brush your pearly whites for two minutes at least twice every day. You will want to use a toothbrush with bristles that are in good shape. Frayed bristles cannot do the job properly. You want to replace your toothbrush every three months, or sooner if you like to chew on the bristles and they lose their shape.

Next, fluoride is an important component of tooth protection. It strengthens your tooth enamel, keeping it strong to discourage pits from developing. You can expose your teeth to the protective properties of fluoride by drinking tap water, using a toothpaste with fluoride, or rinsing with a mouthwash that has fluoride in it.

You will also want to limit your intake of sugary and starchy foods, especially when snacking. This will help reduce plaque formation, so eat a healthy diet overall. Your teeth as well as your body will thank you! Cheese, nuts, and apple slices or carrot sticks can help your teeth stay strong.

A healthy smile also requires professional dental cleanings to remove hardened plaque (tartar) off of your teeth and gum line. We recommend cleanings every six months, so we can check for tooth problems early on while they are most economical and easy to treat.

If you are cavity prone, your dentist may also recommend dental sealants and fluoride treatments to protect your teeth. Take good care of your teeth and your smile will be healthy and radiant. If you would like to schedule your next dental visit with one of our skilled dentists, Dr. Carlos M. Suadi or Dr. W. Ryan Peters, please contact our [practice_name] team in [city], [state] at [phone] today.