Cavities form when tooth enamel gets eaten away by the acids produced by plaque bacteria. These dental caries can make your tooth ache, feel sensitive to heat or cold, become stained, or have visible holes in it. If left untreated, cavities can result in pain, infection, and tooth loss. Learn how to prevent tooth decay from developing in the first place.
- Brush your teeth twice a day. Plaque cannot be washed off with water, so it is important to use a toothbrush to clean it off.
- Use toothpaste containing fluoride. Fluoride has been called “nature’s cavity fighter” because it protects, strengthens, and rebuilds tooth enamel.
- Floss once a day. Since plaque can get between the teeth, it needs to be cleaned off with floss.
- Keep a good diet. Plaque loves sugary and sticky foods. When plaque bacteria does not have sugar, it cannot grow and produce acids.
- Avoid frequently sipping soda or snacking throughout the day. Doing so gives plaque bacteria a constant source of sugar, which results in a continuous barrage of acids on the teeth.
- Visit your dentist regularly. They give you a professional cleaning and can check for cavities.
- Ask your dentist about fluoride supplements or dental sealants to further protect teeth from plaque acids.