(WellnessNova.com) - Cavities are a type of infection that happens as a result of tooth decay. While it’s common knowledge that foods like biscuits, cake, and sweets are prone to causing tooth decay, they’re not the only culprits. From nutrient imbalances to aging to drinking inadequate amounts of water, there are lots of reasons why you might get a cavity. More important is how to prevent them. As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure so let’s take a look at some natural ways to prevent cavities.
1. Cut Down on Refined Sugar
Let’s start with the obvious. Everyone knows that sugar is bad for the teeth, but do you know why? Let’s explain. In addition to good bacteria, you also have a lot of harmful bacteria in your mouth. When you eat sugar, bad bacteria feeds off it to create acids that cause a hole to form in your teeth, also known as a cavity.
Reduce your sugar intake and you’ll reduce your chances of getting a cavity. It’s okay to eat the occasional chocolate bar or slice of cake, but don’t go overboard.
When you do eat refined sugars, only eat them once a day. Snacking on sugary treats throughout the day creates plaque on your teeth which may lead to cavities.
2. Brush Often
This may sound like another obvious one but it cannot be missed. Believe it or not, only a small percentage of us brush our teeth the recommended twice a day. According to National Smile Month, ‘’One in four adults don’t brush twice a day,’’ and ‘’One in ten admit they regularly forget to brush their teeth.’’ Keep forgetting and you’ll be saying hello to a mouth full of cavities.
To stop this from happening, brush regularly and properly. Ontario Dental Association president says most people spend only a minute brushing their teeth when it should be three times that! He also says, ‘’Don’t Scrub! It’s best to use nice, gentle strokes. Scrubbing only gets at the food particles that are on the flat surfaces of your teeth. If you want good results, start at the gums.’’
3. Floss Every Day
Daily flossing is the key to great oral health. Tooth decay, cavities and gum disease can all be prevented simply by flossing. Cavity formation happens when a tooth’s surface is covered with plaque which is why you need to brush and floss. By flossing regularly, you’ll prevent plaque build-up in the area that’s particularly vulnerable to cavity formation: between the teeth. Hence, make a habit of flossing every day and you won’t have to get your cavities filled.
4. Brush Before Breakfast
Overnight, bacteria builds up in your mouth so you need to brush your teeth first thing in the morning to get rid of plaque. While it’s tradition to ‘’Brush after every meal,’’ Colgate say otherwise. They recommend brushing before eating as doing it vice versa can damage tooth enamel – especially if you brush too soon after eating acidic foods. When you wake up in the morning, go straight to the bathroom, brush and floss your teeth, and then wait 30 minutes before drinking or eating anything to prevent the weakening of tooth enamel.
5. Drink Plenty of Water
Dry mouth is a major cause of cavities. It’s caused by anxiety, smoking, mouth breathing, certain medications and most commonly, dehydration. For that reason, you must stay hydrated. Water is vital for the production of saliva, which helps prevent dry mouth. Plus, it neutralizes the effects of sugary foods and helps clean away bacteria. Hence, drink plenty of water or at least rinse your mouth with water every time you eat if you want to prevent cavities.
6. Chew Sugar-free Gum
Another way to get the saliva flowing to prevent dry mouth which can cause tooth cavities, is by chewing sugar-free gum. Chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva which keeps the mouth hydrated and also removes leftover food particles after eating. In other words, it’s good for your teeth.
7. Eat More Vitamins
A diet high in refined carbohydrates like sweets, biscuits, bread and dairy products, leaves you vulnerable to tooth decay. You also need to beware of the “hidden sugars” in foods that don’t even taste sweet which could also cause decay.
But adding more fruit and vegetables to your daily diet naturally removes food particles and plaque from your teeth. Getting plenty of vitamins A, D, E and K and calcium, phosphorous and magnesium can also prevent oral infections like cavities. Be careful how much fruit you consume as it too contains sugar. Stick to a couple of portions of fresh fruit a day.
8. Drink Green Tea and Black Tea
In addition to benefiting your skin, metabolism and immune system, green tea also benefits your mouth. Because it controls bacteria and decreases the acidity of saliva, this drink may be a useful tool in preventing cavities.
In an Egypt-based study, people were tested before and after they rinsed their mouths with green tea. According to their findings, test subjects had less acid and bacteria in their mouths.
Black tea is also equally as effective in combating cavities, according to research. Funded by the Tea Trade Health Research Association, new studies found several doses of black tea every day reduced plaque build-up and helped control bacteria – the prime suspects of dental cavities. Thereby, start brewing some tea and make a habit of it if you want to keep your teeth cavity-free.
9. Eat Raisins
It was once thought that raisins caused cavities. As it turns out, they can actually prevent them. According to scientists, raisins contain chemicals including flavanoids and polyphenols which fight oral bacteria that often lead to cavities. Obviously don’t eat too many as they do contain sugar. But adding a handful to your daily diet has the potential to prevent cavities.
Follow these easy, healthy tips and you’ll save on dental bills. With these, hopefully your next visits to the dentist won’t require sedatives and mercury fillings.