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How to Avoid Cavities

Anyone who has teeth is at risk of developing cavities. We usually associate cavities with children, but adults are at risk too. You can’t slack off brushing and flossing just because you’re an adult because decay can happen to anyone.

When you eat foods with sugars or carbohydrates and don’t brush and floss like you should, you can develop cavities. You will have plaque on your teeth if you don’t remove it with regular brushing and flossing. The bacteria in plaque turns sugar into an acid that can literally eat a hole in your tooth. Fortunately, adults usually have more control whether they develop cavities as they have complete control over their diet, oral care routine, and how often they have a routine dental exam.

Cavity Prevention Tips for Everybody

Preventing cavities can help you have healthy teeth and a nice smile throughout your life. These tips can also help you prevent gum disease, another condition that can cause tooth loss.

1. Have a Routine Dental Exam Every Six Months

If you visit your dentist regularly, he or she can spot cavities that are not causing you any symptoms yet. Filling a small cavity is easier on you, and less expensive, than dealing with one that has penetrated the middle or inner layer of your tooth. You also need a professional cleaning every six months. It does not matter how carefully you brush and floss, you will most likely have plaque which can can lead to cavities. A dentist or dental hygienist can remove the cavity-causing plaque.

2. Have a Consistent Brushing and Flossing Routine

Brush your teeth every morning and before going to bed for two minutes at a time. It’s better if you brush more often, but twice a day is the bare minimum. Brush the inside, outside and chewing surface of each tooth to remove plaque. Always use a fluoride toothpaste. Brushing alone isn’t enough, you have to floss daily to get rid of plaque between your teeth too.

3. Ask Your Dentist About Sealants

Adults and children often get cavities in the pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces of molars. It’s easy to miss plaque in these areas, even if you brush twice a day. Dentist can brush on a thin plastic coating to the clean surface that will create a barrier to protect the surface and make it easy to remove plaque.

4. Eat Foods That Don’t Contribute to Cavities

What you eat and drink can increase or decrease your risk of cavities. We all know that eating candy is bad for your teeth. The bacteria in your mouth will turn the sugar into an acid that can eventually erode the enamel on your teeth. Everything with sugar or starch can contribute to decay, including energy drinks, popsicles and potato chips can harm your teeth if you don’t brush afterward.

Also beware of acidic foods and drinks which can weaken tooth enamel. You should always rinse your mouth after having orange juice or soda, but wait 30 minutes before brushing. You could damage your tooth enamel if you brush immediately afterward.

Drink plenty of water. This helps rinse your mouth as well as hydrate your body. Most people with municipal tap water also get an extra fluoride when they skip bottled water and drink tap water instead.

5. Visit the Dentist Regularly for Cleanings and Exams

If you aren’t seeing your dentist at least twice a year, you are at an increased risk for tooth decay. Your dentist can be your partner in treating dental problems and providing top-tier advice on how to avoid common dental problems. Teeth cleanings are also considered a part of a strong dental hygiene routine.

How Will My Cavity Be Treated?

Your treatment will depend on how far your cavity has progressed. Typical treatments include:


A dental filling is a very common treatment for cavities caused by decay. Your dental practitioner will remove any decay from your tooth and then fill the hole with a synthetic material. This restores your tooth and prevents further decay from developing. There are several materials you and your dentist can choose from, depending on the size of the cavity and its location.

Dental Crowns

A crown is a tooth-shaped cap for a tooth that lost too much structure from a large filling or root canal procedure. Crowns preserve teeth so they are strong once again. You can select from a variety of materials for your crown, each varying in durability, appearance and cost.

Root Canal Procedures

Root canal therapy is necessary when a cavity becomes so large that the bacteria in the decay reaches the tooth’s pulp. The only way your dentist can preserve your tooth is to remove the pulp and fill the space left behind. Teeth that have had a root canal need a crown to restore them to their original strength. Contrary to popular belief, root canals are not painful.

Recent Developments in the Treatment of Cavities

There have been many recent developments in treating cavities. Silver diamine fluoride is one of them. It can reverse decay in tooth enamel without drilling or fillings. Unfortunately, it is not for everyone as it stains teeth. Still. there are many other new developments that can regenerate teeth, including using stem cells to regenerate teeth.

There is another technology that dentists are working on that allows them to use a fluorescent light to detect dental decay and cavities before they cause further damage. This means you and your dentist can find a solution easily and quickly. Finally, there is another new technology for fillings. This new filling can spread fluoride to the surrounding teeth making it much less likely that you will need to have other cavities treated.

While these advancements are great, in the end, it is easier to prevent cavities as opposed to treating them with one of these new techniques.

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Rye Smiles for Life

10614 Warwick Avenue, Ste A, Fairfax, VA 22030

(703) 565-2503