It's common knowledge that regular brushing and flossing, combined with less sugar consumption, can prevent cavities and tooth decay. If you are following these rules but still have a cavity-prone mouth, perhaps it's time to add more decay prevention ideas to your daily arsenal. The following are some lesser known and sometimes surprising ways you can further minimize your chances of a cavity.
Tip #1: Switch to a straw
There's no need to give up sweet drinks completely – you can still enjoy them as an occasional treat. To further protect your teeth, drink through a straw when enjoying a sugary beverage. This reduces the exposure of your teeth to the sugars, since the straw allows the drink to bypass your teeth and hit the back of your palate instead.
Tip #2: Chew some gum
Any sugar-free gum chewed after eating will help minimize cavities. This is because the sticky gum adheres to food particles and lifts them off the teeth before they can form into plaque or feed cavity-causing bacteria. Sugar-free gum that contains xylitol offers even more benefits – this is because it neutralizes the pH in your mouth so cavity-causing bacteria can't thrive. Don't like gum? You can get many of the same benefits from sucking on a piece of xylitol-containing hard candy.
Tip #3: Drink some tea
But make it green! Green tea behaves similar to xylitol, in that it neutralizes the pH in your mouth so that bacteria can't survive and feed into a cavity. Finish off a meal with a cup of green tea to experience the benefits. You can enjoy the tea hot or iced, just don't add a sugary sweetener because this will un-do any of the benefits.
Tip #4: Break a chewing habit
Chewing habits can result in many different behaviors – from gnawing on pen caps or straws to biting your nails. It's well known that this can chip and damage your enamel, but you could also be increasing your chances of a cavity. There are two reasons for this. First, a chip from chewing exposes the inner surface of your tooth to cavity-causing bacteria. The second problem is you are introducing bacteria into your mouth each time you chew on something. Underneath your nails can be an especially nasty breeding ground for bacteria. Instead of chewing on objects, pop some sugar-free gum into your mouth.
For more information, contact a dental practice, such as Arrowhead Family Dentistry.