Cavities can stop a healthy smile if they are left unchecked. But they can often be prevented with care and attention. What are these smile stealers? Cavities are holes which develop in teeth from the harmful effects of plaque formation.

Plaque— the sticky bacterial film that coats your teeth and gums arises as a reaction to the sugars in the foods and drinks you consume. For example, bread, milk, cookies, juice, etc. Bacteria in your mouth react to sugar by creating acids that eat away at tooth enamel. White spots on enamel are one early sign of tooth decay, as minerals in the enamel are lost.

Cavities can form in varies spots on a tooth, including the top or biting surface (molars), or between the teeth. Gum disease, or gum recession which can occur with age allows cavities to form on the root surfaces of your teeth as well. After your dentist clears out any tooth decay, the hole left behind will need to be filled with a filling material to prevent further decay and allow your tooth to function normally.

Steps You Can Take to Prevent Cavities

Brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice each day. Make sure your toothbrush bristles are in good shape, as frayed bristles cannot effectively clean your teeth. Replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if the bristles are wearing out.

Fluoride is an important protection for your teeth, as it strengthens your tooth enamel, keeping it strong and resilient. You can expose your teeth to fluoride’s protective properties by drinking tap water instead of bottled water, using toothpaste with fluoride, or rinsing with mouthwash containing fluoride.

Limit sugary and starchy foods, especially when snacking to reduce plaque formation. Focus on consuming a healthy diet, and your pearly whites and your body will thank you. Cheese, almonds, apple slices or carrot sticks are all good examples of snacks than can help your teeth stay healthy.

Make sure your teeth (and gums) are examined and cleaned by your dentist every six months. In addition to spotting dental issues early when they are easiest and most economically treated, your dental team removes hardened plaque (tartar) off of the teeth and gum line. If you are cavity prone, you may also benefit from dental sealants or fluoride treatments for cavity prevention.

Take care of your precious teeth and let us help you preserve your healthy smile! If you would like to schedule your next dental visit with one of our skilled dentists, Dr. Sanjay Merchant, Dr. Brian Hilton, Dr. Artur Shahnubaryan, please contact our Southridge Dental Group team in Fontana, California at 909-822-9090 today.