Cavities occur when plaque bacteria builds up on the teeth and wears away at a tooth's protective outer layer of enamel. Cavities are painful because this causes the tooth's sensitive dentin to become exposed. Thankfully, because we know what causes cavities, we also know how they can be prevented. Here are some of the top tips for preventing cavities that we give to our patients at the Lakeridge Dentistry Peterborough dental clinic. Brush Your Teeth at Least Twice a Day Brushing with fluoridated toothpaste is the best way to remove plaque bacteria from the front, back, and biting surfaces of your teeth. The fluoride also helps to build strong tooth enamel. Brush your teeth for at least two minutes at a time and be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush so as not to accidentally wear away at your tooth enamel yourself. Floss Your Teeth Daily A toothbrush, unfortunately, does not do a very good job at removing plaque and food particles from between the teeth, which is why you need to floss as well. Flossing should be done at least once a day, as it only takes plaque bacteria 24 hours to harden into a sticky substance known as tartar. Use a Mouthwash A fluoridated mouthwash can help to bolster the effects of your brushing and flossing routine, rinsing away any plaque bacteria that remains. Make sure you follow the directions on the label and swish the mouthwash for as long as indicated. Ask Your Peterborough Dentist About Sealants Dental sealants are used to smooth out small grooves on the surfaces of a tooth that are susceptible to plaque buildup. They are often recommended for children but may be a good choice for adults who are prone to cavities as well. Limit Your Intake of Sweet, Starchy, and Acidic Foods Sugars and starches are a fuel source for plaque bacteria, which then produces harmful acid as a by-product. It is this acid that wears away at your tooth enamel over time. Indulging in too many acidic foods can also cause damage to your tooth enamel. You don't need to cut sugary, starchy, and acidic foods out of your diet completely, but you should be mindful of your intake. Choose Teeth-Friendly Foods Some foods that promote good oral health and can help prevent cavities as well include nuts, cheese, yogurt, fibrous fruits and veggies, leafy greens, eggs, and fish. Try to stock your pantry and fridge with these teeth-friendly foods. Visit Your Dental Clinic in Peterborough Every Six Months Your home dental care routine is only half the battle when it comes to preventing cavities. Most people should visit their Peterborough dentist for a professional teeth cleaning at least once every six months as well. Only a professional teeth cleaning can remove plaque after it has hardened into tartar. After your cleaning, your Peterborough dentist will also perform a thorough examination to identify any early signs of tooth decay. If it's been a while since your last teeth cleaning, then don't hesitate to contact Lakeridge Dentistry at our Peterborough dental clinic today.
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