For some dental patients it may seem that as soon as they have one cavity treated, they turn around and have another one develop on an adjacent tooth. The truth is, decay is contagious and can spread throughout the mouth even if you only have one small cavity in a tooth on the other side.
Treating existing cavities as early as possible is the best way to prevent severe decay from forming. However, there is still some level of bacteria left in your mouth that can make you more susceptible to developing decay. In addition to regular dental exams and cleaning at your dentist’s office, what’s the best way to prevent new cavities from forming and stop areas of demineralization that have already started?
Practice really, really, really good oral hygiene. If you’re not cleaning between your teeth with floss or a water flosser, then nothing is. No matter how good you brush, cavities will form between the teeth if you’re not cleaning those areas each day.
Watch what you drink. Liquids are the worst when it comes to new cavities. Drinking lots of juice, sports drinks, sweet tea, regular or diet soda, milk or flavored drinks can coat hard to reach areas on the teeth and lead to faster decay. Drink plenty of water throughout the day instead.
Chew Xylitol gum at least 5 times each day. Xylitol actually repels plaque bacteria from building up on the teeth, reducing the risk of weakened enamel. Even pregnant women who take Xylitol are more likely to give birth to children with healthier teeth.
Use a fluoride supplement, such as a rinse or gel. The rinses are available over the counter in your oral care isle, while your dentist prescribes gels. Fluoride is effective in remineralizing weakened areas of tooth enamel, preventing decay.
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