Guest Blog: Tips to Battle Against Cavities

Sunday 7 July 2019

How do cavities develop?

Cavities, commonly known as holes in our teeth, are actually severe tooth decay on the surface of our teeth. They develop over time and can actually be stopped or even reversed if detected early. Cavities can only be restored by experienced dental professionals using fillings, inlays or onlays, or crowns. The type of restoration will depend on the severity of the cavity.

Cavities develop when your teeth are exposed to acid. You expose your teeth to acid every time you eat or drink something containing sugar or starch. As these acids rest on your teeth, they attack the enamel, making the teeth weak and susceptible to damage. Affected teeth will also lose important minerals, which is easy to catch following the formation of small white spots on their surface.

How to prevent cavities?

To prevent cavities, it is essential to uphold impeccable dental hygiene habits. This includes brushing your teeth, flossing, and using mouthwash daily.

Visit your Dentist
Visiting your dentist biannually for dental check-ups can help you catch cavities before they require invasive or expensive treatment.

Brush your teeth at least twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, with fluoride toothpaste. Dentists recommend brushing twice a day because although plaque is removed after brushing, it will reappear within a few short hours, generally following a meal.

You can use a manual or an electric toothbrush, but make sure you clean all the surfaces of your tooth – the front, back and top as well as your tongue which also harbours bacteria.

Floss all your teeth at least once a day. This removes any small, hard to reach food debris from in between your teeth. If left alone, this debris could start to decay, forming the bacteria that erode your enamel, ultimately leading to cavity formation.

Encourage children to floss using disposable dental floss picks which are available in cartoon or animal characters. Or have them stand with their back to you and their head tilted back so you can easily and quickly floss their teeth for them.

Use mouthwash
Many mouthwash and rinses on the market today are clinically proven to reduce the bacteria and plaque which lead to cavities. Many of them also remineralise and strengthen your teeth. Avoid using mouthwash immediately after brushing because you will rinse away the fluoride from the toothpaste.

Chew sugar-free gum
Chewing sugar-free gum following meal times was proven to reduce enamel-harming bacteria, as uncovered in a 2015 study. The fewer bacteria that are in the mouth, the smaller the chance that cavities will develop.

Sugar-free gums that contain xylitol prevent cavities by increasing saliva flow in your mouth. Saliva works to continuously rinse your mouth of crumbs and sugars that could attach to the surface of your teeth.

Any sugar-free gums proven to help prevent cavities will normally have marked on the label a seal of acceptance by various organisations, like the American Dental Association.

Healthy diet
Drinking lots of water and consuming foods high in vitamins and minerals will strengthen your teeth. Certain foods like cheese, vegetables, and fresh fruits are good for your enamel.

Stop smoking
Not only does smoking cause bad breath and staining, but it can also contribute to dental decay and infection.

Decay, and eventually cavities, develops as a consequence of smoking since your saliva production is reduced. When there is not enough saliva in your mouth, excess food particles will not be washed away resulting in tooth decay and cavities.

Use dental sealants
Dental sealants cover the chewing surface of your back teeth to prevent them from harmful bacteria and decay. Sealants are generally made of plastic and are so thin you won’t even notice they are there.

They are typically administered to children when their adult premolars and molars erupt. Since sealants cover the whole surface, it makes the tooth smoother and easier to clean with a toothbrush. There are effectively fewer nooks and crannies to house bacteria, which dramatically reduce the cavity risk.

Natural remedies to prevent cavities

study released in 2014 uncovered that toothpaste with high amounts of fluoride hardens enamel, effectively protecting your teeth from the development of the harmful bacteria which cause cavities.

Two natural remedies that may help prevent cavities are oil pulling and Vitamin D supplements.

Oil pulling is an ancient technique which involves swishing a small amount of pure sesame or coconut oil around your month. According to a 2009 study, oil pulling has the same bacteria and plaque-reducing powers that a standard mouth rinse offers. By reducing plaque, your teeth don’t have the same cavity risk.

Vitamin D has been proven to significantly reduce the development of cavities in various patients.

Final Thoughts

Incorporating at least some, preferably all, of these techniques, greatly reduce the risk of developing cavities. Your dentist can provide further advice and guidance to help you develop a personalised plan to minimise possible tooth decay.

Disclaimer: This article is contributed by a Guest Blogger. Ping of Health does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this article. Ping of Health disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.