Up until recently, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) was something that didn’t come up in everyday conversation. In 2020, we’re paying close attention to everything that the CDC says—especially when it comes to COVID-19. However, let’s step away from the pandemic talk and take a moment to look at something that the CDC said back in 2015 regarding cavities:
“Approximately 91% of U.S. adults aged 20–64 had dental caries in permanent teeth in 2011–2012” (Dental Caries and Tooth Loss in Adults in the United States, 2011–2012)
91 percent is an incredibly high statistic! Because of this, we don’t want this “How to Prevent Cavities” guide to be seen as something just for children. We hope that every individual, no matter how young or old, will be able to use this guide to help improve their oral health.
6 Steps to Prevent Cavities
Step 1: Watch Your Sugar Intake
You’ve heard this time and time again. Sugar isn’t the best thing for your body, but we’re not here to tell you to put down the soda and walk away from it forever. It’s okay to treat yourself to a tasty guilty pleasure every now and then, but moderation is key!
How does sugar cause cavities? The plaque on your teeth produces bacteria that interacts with the sugar you eat. This interaction then produces acid that eats at the enamel on your teeth, creating cavities.
How much sugar should you have per day? According to heart.org, men should only consume up to 9 teaspoons (36 grams) per day. In contrast, women should only take in 6 teaspoons (25 grams). Think about that for one second and then think about how much sugar is in our everyday foods. One can of soda has 8 teaspoons (32 grams) of sugar. That’s an obvious source of sugar. Think about all of the condiments we use with our foods or even some of the soups that we typically think of as “healthy”, like Thai curry or Vientamese pho, that contain lots of sugar.
Step 2: Brush Your Teeth Consistently
You’ve probably heard your parents telling you this every day growing up and, if you have kids, you most likely tell them this too. Brush your teeth every morning night!
As busy adults, we often end the day just done with work, taking care of family responsibilities, and other factors of our adulting lives. Sometimes we are just ready to drop and get to bed as quickly as we can at the end of the day. How many times have you done that without brushing your teeth before going to bed? It’s a pretty common task to neglect, but it’s so important! Think about the long-term impact that it could have on your teeth if you weren’t to routinely brush your teeth. Then, stay up two minutes longer to brush your teeth. Your future health will thank you!
Step 3: Take Flossing Seriously
In 2017, the American Dental Association (ADA) released survey results claiming that only 16% of adults floss once per day. Likewise, the CDC says that one-third of Americans never floss. If you think about it, brushing allows you to clean some of your teeth but not entirely. See, each tooth has five surfaces and only three of them can be reached with a toothbrush. Two surfaces can only be cleaned if you are flossing your teeth. If you put all of this together, it means that one-third of Americans aren’t cleaning 40% of their teeth. That’s some pretty hard truth, right?
If you’re struggling to make flossing your teeth a habit, set some personal goals. Make it a goal to floss once this week. Then, go for two times next week. Keep increasing every week until you are at a point where you are flossing daily. It’s all about making time to floss and making it a habit. You’ve got this!
Step 4: Avoid Frequent Snacking
Are you the type of person who loves to snack throughout the day? It’s okay to have a snack once or twice per day. However, you need to be careful when it comes to consistent snacking throughout the day. Many snack foods have lots of sugar in them and, as mentioned above, sugary foods can create cavity-causing acid in your mouth. By snacking constantly, you’ll increase the amount of acid in your mouth and break down your enamel.
Step 5: Drink Water
Water not only helps to hydrate your body, but it also helps to naturally clean your teeth. It helps wash food particles out of your mouth and doesn’t leave behind harmful residue like soda, juice, or even flavored milks do. If your water has fluoride in it, it will be even more beneficial and can even help prevent tooth decay over time.
Step 6: Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Your dentist can help evaluate the status of your oral hygiene and provide you with honest feedback. They’ll help you put together an action plan for getting your dental health back on track. It’s important to visit the dentist every six month, so please call a Genesis Dental location near you to set that appointment. If you’re concerned about insurance, please make sure to check out our Loyalty Plan.
Our Sister Practices
We love our team and their commitment to preventing cavities! Our Genesis Dental family includes our Genesis Dental offices in Northern Utah and Kansas (one location) as well as our other dental and orthodontic practices: