Dental cavities are tiny holes in the hard surface of our teeth. These holes are caused by bacteria present in the mouth that create acid out of sugar. The most common culprit is a bacterium called Streptococcus mutans. The bacteria start forming a sticky layer on your teeth, commonly known as plaque. The acids in plaque demineralize your enamel in the form of erosion. This erosion causes the formation of tiny holes or cavities in your teeth.
While we all know that we’re supposed to regularly brush our teeth and floss to maintain our oral health, cavities can still be quite a problem that we all have to face now and then. Tooth decay is ranked as the second most common disease in the world! One out of four individuals is suffering from cavities, and more than 50% of the teenagers in the US have cavities. Our oral health is often taken for granted, in spite of it being an essential part of our everyday lives. However, it is never too late to make amends and take control of your oral health. Here are 5 simple ways to keep you away from cavities or tooth decay.
Get your teeth examined
The first step towards a better oral health and hygiene is determining what the current situation of your teeth is. You can go for a comprehensive and holistic dental examination to learn where you currently stand, what kind of damage has already been done, and what kind of treatment plan you should take to make it better. It will also help you in ascertaining the level of risk you currently are exposed to. The results from your dental examination will help you in planning your visits to the dentist, taking corrective measures, and plan ahead for a better oral hygiene.
Brush Regularly, With the Right Kind of Technique
This is a textbook tip, a rather obvious measure and needs very little explanation. Regular brushing keeps germs, bacteria, and many other decay-causing elements out of your mouth. However, it is important to know that not all kinds of toothbrushes are suitable for everyone. Your dentist will give you advice on the kind of toothbrush that you should use, depending on the kind of gums you have. Using a brush with hard bristles can cause damage to your gums, which can further lead to gum bleeding. Excessive brushing is also harmful. So, ensure that you adhere to proper brushing techniques.
Healthy Brushing Techniques:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Apply gentle pressure while brushing
- Keep your brush at a 45 degree angle against your gums
- Don’t forget to clean your tongue
- Replace your brush at least 4 times a year
Refrain from Sugary & Acidic Beverages
Sodas, colas, and the daily consumption of coffee & tea cause a lot of damage to your teeth. A prolonged exposure to such beverages causes your teeth to decay. So, make sure that you rinse your mouth thoroughly after consuming such beverages. You should also consider drinking a lot of water throughout the day. It helps in flushing away the sugary liquids off your teeth and saliva. Drinking water with fluoride is one of the most beneficial things you can do to prevent tooth decay or cavities.
Flossing always helps!
Although many people don’t really like to floss much, but it isn’t that hard or discomforting when you get the hang of it. It has always been medically advised by dentists to floss your teeth every day, as it has more benefits that you may actually think. Without flossing, we’re literally cleaning our teeth only partially and leaving out the sides which cannot be cleaned by brushing alone. If you’re not flossing your teeth every day, it is probably the best time to start now; it only takes a few minutes and can be done on the go, or while doing things such as watching TV or even reading a book. Start small and make it a daily habit. Soon enough you’ll notice the difference and won’t regret it.
Proper Flossing Technique:
- Take approximately 18 inches of floss around your fingers
- Place the floss between your thumbs and index fingers
- Keep a 1 to 2 inch length floss between the fingers
- Use the index fingers to guide the floss between contacts of teeth in the lower jaw
- Use a zig-zag motion to glide the floss
- Slide the floss up and down under the gum line and against the surface of your teeth
- Floss each tooth thoroughly
Chewing Tobacco or Smoking? Quit it
You may probably already know it; smoking and use of oral tobacco can cause a lot of damage to your health and body. It damages your lungs, your immunity, and affects about every organ in the body. But did you know that smoking or chewing tobacco can also pose a lot of threats to your teeth, gums, and the mouth as well? Smoking not only stains the teeth, the habit can cause severe problems like gum diseases, loss of teeth, and even mouth cancer as a matter of fact.
There are many other simple home remedies that you can resort to, such as:
- Increasing your intake of Vitamin D. It enables the absorption of calcium and phosphate from the food we eat. You can get vitamin D from dairy products like milk, yogurt, etc.
- Try using sesame oil or coconut oils and swish it around your mouth for about twenty minutes. This technique is called oil pulling and it has been proven to remove harmful toxins from the body, helps remove plaque and other harmful bacteria.
- Chewing a sugar-free gum to also significantly helps in re-mineralizing your enamel.
While most of these home remedies have not been clinically proven, but claimed by many to be worth trying. If you aren’t sure about any of the above mentioned tooth decay options, or the onslaught of bacteria and diseases, its best to consult a dentist. He/she can guide you on ways to keep your teeth healthy and cavity-free. For everything else, you’re