The best way to combat cavities is to follow these 3 steps:
- Cut down on sweets and between-meal snacks. Remember, it’s these sugary and starchy treats that put your teeth at extra risk for cavities.
- Brush after every meal and floss daily. Cavities most often begin in hard-to-clean places between teeth and in the grooves and pits, edges around a crowned tooth and gaps between the teeth. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush inside, outside and between your teeth and on top of your tongue. Replace your toothbrush about every 2 months or sooner if the bristles become bent. Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly after brushing. Try to brush for at least 3 minutes. Only buy toothpastes and rinses that contain fluoride. Children under 6 should only use a small pea-sized dab of toothpaste on the brush and should spit out as much as possible because swallowing toothpaste can result in a stomachache. Finally, because the bacteria that causes caries is transmittable, toothbrushes should never be shared, especially with your children.
- See your dentist at least every 6 months for checkups and professional cleanings. Because cavities can be difficult to detect a thorough dental examination is very important. If you get a painful toothache, if your teeth are very sensitive to hot or cold foods, or if you notice signs of decay like white spots, tooth discolorations or cavities, make an appointment right away. The longer you wait to treat infected teeth the more intensive and lengthier the treatment will be. Left neglected, cavities can lead to root canal infection, permanent deterioration of decayed tooth substance and even loss of the tooth itself.