You probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that cavities and the disease that causes them are largely preventable. Nevertheless, over 90% of adults in America have been affected by cavities in at least one permanent tooth.
If you’re among that percentage, but believe that you take excellent care of your dental health, then you may begin to wonder if preventing cavities is possible. Fortunately, it is, and you can improve your hygiene routine to further increase your chances of successfully preventing tooth decay and cavities.
Risks for Cavities
Cavities are caused by tooth decay, which begins with the excessive buildup of plaque on your teeth. The sticky substance contains myriad oral bacteria, some of which consume sugar and carbs from your meals and convert them into acid. Then, the acid attacks your teeth’s protective layer of enamel.
Frequent snacking, excessive candy and other sweets, and inadequate dental hygiene can increase the rate of acid attacks on your teeth. In time, enamel will develop small holes (like cavities for your enamel) that allow bacteria to slip past and infect your tooth’s main structure. As decay sets in and eats away your tooth’s structure, cavities (holes) can form that can lead to often-severe toothaches.
Good Hygiene’s Role in Cavity Prevention
Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once can help control the population of plaque-forming bacteria, inhibiting the acids that they can produce to threaten your teeth. Refrain from frequent snacking, drink plenty of water, and visit your dentist’s office at least once every six months for a comprehensive dental exam and cleaning. Your regular visits will allow your dentist to thoroughly clean and inspect your teeth for early signs of cavities, or for indications that you are at an increased risk of developing them.