Most people know the basics of dental hygiene, but even more people suffer from dental cavities. Obviously, sugary foods and lack of oral hygiene will lead to cavities, but the following article provides great advice that is not only realistic but also easy to implement in your lives. Hopefully,
this article will clarify the dentists’ recommendations to help you truly fight cavities!
1. Brush your teeth at the BEST times
Several people like to brush their teeth right after they wake up to rid themselves of their “morning breath,” which is great for their social life. However, if you plan on eating breakfast after you brush your teeth in the morning, you can count on your teeth to be covered by plaque for the rest of the morning. Therefore, the BEST time to brush your teeth in the morning is AFTER breakfast, leaving your teeth free of the “fuzzy sweaters” until the next time you eat.
In today’s world, brushing your teeth after lunch seems unrealistic. As a result, I recommend other habits during the day to help fight cavities (continue reading below for those ideas).
As for the nighttime brushing, most people know to brush their teeth before they go to bed. However, the crucial reasoning is often left out during oral hygiene instructions. When you go to sleep, your mouth does not produce as much saliva, which is one of your body’s best defenses against cavities. If you go to sleep with your teeth covered in plaque, the bacteria can rather easily begin and continue cavitation of the enamel on your teeth. Consequently, the BEST time to brush your teeth in the evening is right before you go to sleep.
2. Use mouthwashes that contain fluoride
Mouthwashes help keep your breath fresh, but not all of them fight cavities equally. The BEST anti-cavity mouthwashes are those that contain fluoride. However, those companies rarely emphasize the importance of following the directions to obtain the full benefits of the mouthwash. Just like fluoride treatments at the dentist, using a fluoridated mouthwash requires you not to eat or drink for 30 minutes after using the mouthwash. Those 30 minutes give the fluoride sufficient time to fight cavities by rebuilding weakened enamel.
3. Stimulate your saliva
If your workday does not include a post-lunch tooth brushing party, there are other ways to help fight cavities throughout the day. Since your teeth will have plaque on them following your
lunch, the BEST way to fight cavities during the day (short of brushing and flossing) is to stimulate your salivary flow. This can be done by chewing sugar free gum or eating sugar free candy. Now here’s a dentist condoning gum and candy – as long as it’s sugar free!
4. Use artificial sweeteners
I realize that old habits die hard, but this simple step can really help you fight cavities. The BEST part is that the bacteria in your dental plaque cannot digest and process the artificial sugar, meaning they cannot use the artificial sugars to begin and progress enamel cavitation. Therefore,
you can out-smart those bacteria by drinking soda and coffee with artificial sweeteners instead of regular sugar. Note that soda and coffee are inherently acidic, but I understand that it is unrealistic for everyone to avoid these. Keep reading for helpful advice with soda and coffee.
5. Drink plenty of fluoridated water
This piece of advice helps not only your teeth but also your general health. Fluoridated water is one of the BEST ways to fight cavities, and it is easy to incorporate into your everyday life. Most communities have fluoridated water, but if your area does not, you can buy bottled water that has fluoride in it (or see your local dentist for fluoride supplements).
Another great idea is to drink some water after drinking soda or coffee. This helps wash away the acidic film that coats your teeth after drinking soda or coffee (note that the film is also sugary if you ignored tip #5 and used regular sugar instead of artificial sweeteners). An added benefit is that rinsing with water after drinking these types of beverages helps fight staining of your teeth.
6. Floss every day
I know this is a tedious task, but hopefully this explanation will help motivate you. Each tooth in your mouth is like a 5-sided box, with only 3 surfaces exposed (the chewing surface, the surface facing your tongue, and the surface facing your cheeks). This means that only 3 out of the 5 surfaces are readily accessible by a toothbrush. That leaves 2 surfaces (the surfaces that face the adjacent teeth) untouched by your toothbrush. The BEST way to clean these 2 surfaces is with floss. Remember, that mechanical debridement is the BEST way to disrupt the plaque on your teeth that is responsible for dental cavities.