Six Little Habits To Adopt If You Want To Avoid Cavities

If you want to avoid cavities, all you need to do is avoid sugar and brush your teeth... right? Well, not necessarily. There are plenty of patients who stay away from sweets and brush twice a day, yet still develop some cavities overtime. So many different factors come into play when it comes to cavity formation, and it may be impossible to prevent them 100%. However, there are a lot of little habits you can adopt to greatly reduce your risk.

1. Minimize your intake of acidic foods.

Acidic foods tend to weaken the tooth enamel, which makes it more prone to decay. You don't have to go without acidic foods entirely, but you should seek to keep your intake of them in check. Acidic foods include orange juice, tomato sauce, and vinegar-based sauces. When you do eat these foods, make sure you eat them along with something less acidic, and also rinse your mouth out with water after eating them.

2. Keep floss handy at all times.

So many people intend to floss every day, but they forget or run out of time. If you keep floss with you in your purse, wallet, or car, you'll be able to floss when you remember. And flossing can make a huge difference in your cavity risk since the areas between your teeth, where the toothbrush can't reach, are some of the most likely to develop cavities.

3. Take a multivitamin.

You probably know that calcium is essential for healthy tooth enamel. Did you know your teeth and gums also require magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin D, and an array of other nutrients in order to remain healthy? While it is possible to meet all of your nutrient needs with a healthy, balanced diet, many people don't eat the way they should all of the time. Taking a multivitamin ensures you get the nutrients you need for strong, cavity-resistant tooth enamel even during those weeks when your breakfasts consist of more donuts and less fruit!

4. Use fluoride mouth rinse.

Unless your dentist indicates that you should not do so, purchase a fluoridated mouth rinse from the pharmacy, and use it to rinse out your mouth after each brushing session. Fluoride helps maintain healthy tooth enamel, and while there is fluoride in toothpaste and in most municipal water supplies, many patients still need a bit of an extra boost. Do read the instructions on the label closely. Most warn you not to eat food or drink anything for about 20 minutes after using the rinse in order to give your teeth time to absorb the fluoride.

5. Wait a few minutes after eating and before brushing.

Do you rush to the bathroom to brush your teeth as soon as you're done eating? This is a common mistake. You should actually wait about 30 minutes after eating and before brushing your teeth. If you have eaten anything the least bit acidic during your meal, your teeth will be porous and more delicate immediately after your meal, and brushing can weaken the enamel, leading to more cavities. Waiting 30 minutes gives the enamel time to harden again.

6. Rinse your mouth after eating if you can't brush.

If you cannot brush your teeth after a meal or snack, perhaps because you're out and about or in the office, at least rinse your mouth out with some water. This will prevent any sugars in your food from resting on your teeth and continuing to feed the oral bacteria that cause cavities. Even if you did not eat any sugar, the starches in your food are easily broken down into sugars in your mouth, so rinsing them away is wise.