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Cavity Prevention: Six Daily Dental Care Tips

Bacteria love to congregate in warm, wet places, which makes your mouth seem like paradise for germs and pathogens looking for a permanent home. They love to nestle into the hard-to-reach spaces between your teeth and the safe haven under your gums. 

But if you don’t brush your teeth often enough, bacteria can hang out in plain sight, forming colonies in the sticky plaque and hardened tartar that develop when you give them a chance. Once bacteria take hold, they turn inward and start to erode the enamel on your teeth and work their way inward forming a cavity. 

Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to prevent cavities. Here, Dr. Jason Hamada and our team at Hamada Family Dentistry in San Jose, California, offer six daily practical tips to help you ward off cavities.

1. Brush your teeth

Ideally, you’d brush your teeth after every meal to remove the traces of food and drink from your teeth. The longer food stays stuck between your teeth and coats the surfaces, the more opportunities bacteria have to do their damage. 

If you can’t brush after every meal, shoot for twice a day. Bacteria build up overnight, so getting rid of them first thing in the morning gives you a clean slate for the day. Then, before you go to bed at night, brush again to clear away any particles lurking about after a day full of eating and drinking to ensure your mouth is as clean as possible as you sleep.

2. Floss between your teeth

Although most people are pretty good about brushing their teeth, studies show that they aren’t as diligent when it comes to flossing: about 47% of people only floss once a week, and 58% never floss at all. And that’s unfortunate, because flossing is the best way to get rid of sticky plaque and prevent cavities. 

If you find flossing difficult or confusing, we’d love to help you find a flossing technique that makes it easier for you. Here are some simple steps to help you up your flossing game. 

3. Rinse your mouth

Brushing after a meal isn’t always practical, but you can usually find a convenient place to rinse your mouth out. A quick trip to the restroom at a restaurant or a swig of water when you’re out and about can clear away food particles that would otherwise stay in your teeth all day.

Simply take a sip of water and swish it around with vigor to force the food out, then spit. Using a fluoridated mouthwash is even better: It dislodges stuck food particles as you swish, the fluoride protects your teeth against cavities, and it freshens your breath. 

4. Avoid cavity-causing foods

Certain foods are known for their cavity-causing properties. Because bacteria love sugar, sugary food creates an ideal environment for tooth decay, especially if it stays on your teeth for a few hours. 

Likewise, sticky foods — even healthy ones — that linger in the grooves and crevices of your teeth, can lead to cavities. To clear them away, try eating some fresh fruit after your meal to increase your saliva production. You can also swish some unsweetened coffee or tea around your mouth or chew some sugar-free gum. 

5. Stop snacking

Every time you put food or beverages in your mouth, you introduce new bacteria and feed existing bacteria. So, if you’re a grazer who constantly snacks throughout the day, your mouth never gets a break from the bacterial buildup. 

To prevent cavities, cut back on snacking and sipping, and brush more often.

6. Use fluoride

At Hamada Family Dentistry, we apply fluoride as part of our professional cleaning service, but you can complement that treatment by making sure you get enough fluoride in your daily routine. 

Use a fluoridated toothpaste when you brush, rinse with a fluoridated mouthwash, and drink tap water once in a while, as the municipal water system in San Jose contains added fluoride. 

More cavity-protection tips

In addition to these daily habits, there are more ways to prevent plaque attacks that create cavities. 

Regular dental check-ups give you the advantage of a professional assessment of your teeth and the ability to catch the earliest signs of a cavity before it progresses into serious tooth decay that may require a root canal instead of a filling. 

Our team Hamada Family Dentistry expertly cleans your teeth and removes the plaque and hardened tartar. We also go deeper, when necessary, and scrape away bacteria below the gum line. 

If you’re especially prone to cavities, we may recommend an antibacterial treatment or dental sealant that provides a protective coating on the surface of your teeth.

To keep your teeth safe from cavities, schedule an appointment for a complete exam by calling our friendly staff at 669-260-5937 today.