How to Prevent Tooth Decay and Cavities

Cavities or tooth decay is one of the most common and unmet oral health problems. Almost 90% of adults aged 20 to 64 have tooth decay. This statistic hasn’t changed since 1999. An untreated cavity can lead to several problems, such as pain and infections.

Tooth decay can lead to a severe infection or an abscess under the gums, which could become fatal. It can spread to different body parts and cause other health conditions. This makes it crucial to learn not only how to treat cavities but how to prevent them as well.


Signs You Have Cavities


If the decay is still on the outer enamel surface of the teeth, it doesn’t often cause pain or show symptoms. If the decay has progressed into the root, that’s when you will most likely experience the following symptoms:

  • Bad breath

  • Toothache

  • Mouth pain

  • Bleeding gums

  • Facial swelling

  • Tooth sensitivity

  • Redness in or around the mouth


The Cause of Tooth Decay and Cavities


Various factors could have led to your cavities. Mostly, it’s due to bacteria. The bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugary and starchy foods and drinks, like milk, juice, soda, fruits, and candy, that you consume. The bacteria then convert the carbohydrates in the foods and drinks into acids that can decay the teeth.

Another cause of cavities is the mix of saliva, food, acid, and bacteria, which form a plaque. It’s a sticky substance coating the teeth, slowly decaying them. Proper brushing of teeth and flossing are essential in getting rid of the leftover food particles on the teeth and the plaque. If not, the acids in the plaque will dissolve the tooth enamel, creating holes and cavities.


Preventing Tooth Decay and Cavities


There are several ways to prevent tooth decay, including proper oral hygiene. Additionally, it would help if you went on regular dental visits. Get a dental checkup twice yearly so your dentist can check your teeth and treat cavities before they worsen. Good oral care also involves:


Using Fluoride


Fluoride can prevent the progress of tooth decay. It may even be able to stop tooth decay early or reverse it. It can protect the teeth, preventing the tooth enamel from losing minerals and replacing lost ones. It also reduces bacteria’s ability to make acid. With that said, you should brush with fluoride toothpaste or drink fluoridated water to get this mineral.


Brushing and Flossing Properly


Ensure you brush with fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily – ideally in the morning when you wake up and at night before sleep. You should also floss once daily to eliminate the plaque and food particles stuck between your teeth. It’s recommended to floss before brushing your teeth, so you can brush away the food and plaque you’ve dislodged.


Pay Attention to What You Eat


Your diet is an important factor to consider in preventing cavities. The food and beverages you drink contain sugar and starches, which are food for the bacteria in your mouth. Thanks to those, the acids in your mouth can eat away your tooth’s enamel. Eating less sugary and starchy foods should help prevent cavities.

Another way to prevent tooth decay is the use of dental sealants. They’re plastic coatings on the back teeth or molars, forming a barrier to prevent food and bacteria from being trapped between the teeth. 

For information on how to prevent tooth decay and cavities, contact Cal Oaks Dental by calling (951) 501-4900 or visiting our clinic in Murrieta, California.

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