According to family dentist Dr. Tamatha C. Pantano, DMD, good dental healthcare involves the observation of only a few key habits. But what if you still get cavities despite brushing your teeth twice daily?
To get to the bottom of this issue, we must first understand how cavities form.
Acidity and cavity formation
Our teeth are composed of minerals. When we consume food or drink high in sugar or starch, the bacteria that comprise the plaque on your teeth produce acid. This acid corrodes the protective, highly mineralized outer layer of our teeth known as enamel. If the mouth becomes too acidic, those minerals start to break down, eventually leading to the destruction of the teeth a.k.a. tooth decay a.k.a. cavities.
In short, the acidity of our mouth plays a key role in cavity formation.
With that in mind, here are three ways you can prevent cavities in addition to regular brushing.
1. Control your mouth’s acidity level
Your mouth’s acidity level returns to normal 30 minutes to an hour after consuming food and/or drink. If you eat or drink before your mouth has time to recover, you restart the plaque bacteria’s acid production process.
Therefore, if you want to avoid constantly exposing your teeth to enamel-corroding acidity levels, it’s a good idea to take breaks between eating and drinking sessions. Also, avoid prolonging such sessions; the sooner your mouth’s acidity level returns to normal, the better.
2. Re-mineralize your teeth
Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens enamel. It works with the minerals found in saliva to safeguard our teeth from cavities.
For this reason, make sure to use toothpaste with fluoride for your toothbrushing purposes. Drinking tap water containing fluoride also helps!
3. Brush your teeth at the proper time
When you brush your teeth is just as important as brushing your teeth twice a day.
While we’re asleep at night, the acid-producing bacteria in our mouth multiply. Therefore, you should brush first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything. This gets rid of excess bacteria; fewer bacteria mean less acid is produced as a result of having breakfast.
You should also brush your teeth before going to bed to minimize your teeth’s exposure to acid during sleep. Wait at least half an hour after dinner to brush; this gives your saliva time to add phosphate and calcium back to your teeth.