You brush your teeth every day, but you still have cavities. What can you do to protect your smile and oral health better?
According to Dr. Bruce Dye of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, “It is not what people are doing wrong. It is maybe what we can do better.” And it looks like a lot of us could use that advice. According to a study led by Dr. Dye for the Centers for Disease Control, 91% of adults in the U.S. have cavities in their permanent teeth!
Why Do We Get Cavities?
Cavities are caused by bacteria that reacts with sugar and produces an acid that weakens tooth enamel by leaching out minerals. The enamel on your tooth is what protects the vulnerable interior from bacteria. Protecting your tooth enamel is the first line of defense against tooth decay.
If you drink tap water, you are probably drinking fluoridated water. Fluoride helps slow the loss of minerals and significantly reduces rates of tooth decay. There has been a recent rise in the rate of kid’s cavities, and many family dentists think the modern use of bottled water — which often isn’t fluoridated — might be to blame.
Which Tip Can You Use Right Now?
- Use the right toothbrush – Did you know that you may be using the wrong toothbrush? Dentists recommend using a soft bristle toothbrush at least twice a day, ideally after every meal. A soft bristle brush is more effective at cleaning tooth surfaces and between teeth and is more gentle on delicate gum tissue.
- Floss regularly – You know you should floss, but often skip it. Try using one of the many flavored flosses that help make this chore more pleasant. ( There’s even a bacon flavored one. Bacon makes anything better!) Many patients enjoy using a Waterpik instead of ordinary floss.
- Visit Dr. Graber regularly – This is important because it’s easier to take care of a potential dental issue when it is still minor. Dr. Graber and his team make it easy by sending you reminders via email and text. Make sure to leave your updated contact information with our front desk.
- Try to limit eating sugary foods – This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy that box of Junior Mints when you go to the movies. But when you do eat sweets, it’s important to brush as soon afterward as possible, so you remove harmful acids from your tooth enamel quickly. If you can’t get to a toothbrush right away, then chew some sugar-free gum. Chewing gum stimulates your natural saliva to coat your teeth with bacteria fighting enzymes.
- Get enough fluoride – As we mentioned above, drinking fluoridated tap water is a simple way to protect your teeth. Also, make sure to choose a fluoridated toothpaste when you brush or use a mouth rinse that has fluoride.
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