Cavities are the number one reason why many people return to see me at the dental office. Some of them are big enough to swim in and others can’t be seen when you look at the tooth. But are revealed on x-rays.
Cavities are something that I always want to help moms and their family avoid for several reasons.
1. It can get costly depending on what needs to be done to fix the tooth or teeth
2. No one likes getting numb aka “the shot.”
3. You have to take off time from work or the kids have to take time off from school.
Cavities are something no one wants to have.
Good news is I have a few tips that can help you keep cavities minimal or nonexistent in your family.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase using any of the links.
How do I or my kids get cavities?
Cavities happen as a result of the bacteria in your mouth eating the wonderful meal you had and producing acid as a by-product.
Think of it as the bacteria spraying acid after eating. Over time, with all of this acid on the tooth, it beings to break down the toot structure and a cavity forms.
How can I prevent cavities?
The basic way to prevent cavities is by maintaining good oral hygiene. This means brushing morning and night. Then flossing once a day.
I know you hear it all the time, but think that there has to be more to it because you or a family member has had a cavity after following the basic recommendations.
Let me share with you some of the products that I have found effective for my patients in preventing cavities.
Flouride is an important ingredient in preventing cavities. Fluoride works to remineralize areas that the bacteria have sprayed their acid all over teeth.
Think of it like this the tooth is like swiss cheese …
The holes in the swiss cheese are areas that have been attacked on the tooth by the bacteria. Plugging the holes in, with let’s say cream cheese, is like the fluoride.
Now that the holes have been plugged in the swiss cheese is a lot stronger. Same thing with fluoride. It helps remineralize areas on the tooth (by plugging in the holes) and strengthening the tooth.
One of the easiest ways to get an extra boost of fluoride is with a fluoridated toothpaste. Now you may be asking, “which toothpaste should I use?”
Because there are so many out there to choose from with different flavors, ingredients and added benefits, I always suggest looking for a toothpaste with the ADA seal of acceptance.
The ADA seal means that the product has been tested and found to do and provide the benefits it claims. Any toothpaste with the seal is going to work well for you.
Look for a toothpaste that has some type of fluoride on the ingredients list.
You can check out the complete list of toothpaste with the ADA seal and see that there is something there for you and the family.
Another way to help minimize cavities is by flossing. You don’t want to walk around with your Cesar salad wedged between your teeth for weeks.
There is a problem with the food being stuck in between your teeth for a long time:
- it begins to smell
- the food can potentially help the bacteria that cause cavities to cause more damage
- it can irritate your gums
Flossing is an effective way of removing food and debris when done properly. The crazy thing is most people don’t know how to floss properly and that is why it is not effective.
Check out this video on how to floss properly. While you’re at it, make sure to show the kids so that they can get in the habit of flossing properly too.
After brushing and flossing using a mouth rinse is super beneficial. The mouth rinse is able to get into all the nooks and crannies to help keep your mouth clean.
The other awesome part about some of these mouth rinses is that there are some that have fluoride that can help keep your teeth strong.
Make sure to brush and floss first. Then use the mouth rinse as directed on the bottle.
ACT has a mild taste. There is even have a mild bubblegum tasting rinse for the kids.
If the Listerine burn gets to you, there is a Listerine Total Care Zero that does not have alcohol that you can try.
I am a huge fan of Listerine Total Care because it has so many benefits. In addition to helping prevent cavities, it helps freshen your breath and minimize the bacteria that cause gingivitis and gum disease.
Gum with xylitol is one of my favorite products to recommend because I usually don’t get too much resistance.
The ADA recommends chewing gum 20 minutes after a meal. This helps stimulate saliva to help wash away the food and neutralize the pH in your mouth.
Chewing gum with xylitol has an extra added benefit. Xylitol is a natural sugar that stops the cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth. This, in turn, helps reduce the chances of getting a cavity.
There are so many types of gum that have xylitol. Remember I stand by products that have the ADA seal. Here are a few different types of gum that you can try with the ADA seal:
Wrap it up
Preventing cavities is going to take a little effort. Make sure that you are brushing twice a day for 2 minutes.
Flossing will help keep you and the family from having a filling or gum disease in the future. You can add a mouth rinse and chew xylitol gum to help minimize cavities as well.