When we’re lying back in the dental chair, there’s only one word that can cut through the calm and strike fear in our hearts: CAVITIES. No one wants these bad boys of dental care, but cavities happen.
Here’s what’s really shocking: cavities happen a lot more often than we think.
According to a study by the CDC, 1 in every 5 Americans has an untreated cavity in their mouths. And people ages 20 to 44 have the highest rate of untreated cavities, at 25 percent.
When you multiply cavity concerns across all members of your family, that’s a lot of money that could wind up with your dentist. Your dentist is nice and all, but wouldn’t you rather keep that money in your own pocket?
Cavities are little holes in the teeth caused by tooth decay. This decay occurs when your tooth enamel (the hard outer layer of the teeth) starts to erode.
The root of the problem is plaque – that sticky, filmy stuff that clings to the teeth.
Plaque is packed with bacteria. Whenever you eat or drink something sugary or starchy, bacteria release acids. Because plaque is so sticky, the acid clings to the teeth and begins to eat away at the enamel.
Silly grown ups! Cavities aren’t just for kids.
It’s true! Time is not on our side when it comes to cavity prevention. Many adults, even after years of sparkling oral healthcare exams, may find themselves suddenly prone to cavities. Why?
Receding Gums. This exposes the root surface of the tooth, which is not as strong as the rest of the tooth and is easily damaged.
Dry Mouth. Decreased salivary flow, something that naturally happens as we age,increases our risk for cavities. Good salivary flow is important because saliva neutralizes bacteria and helps to replace minerals in the enamel that are lost during an “acid attack.”
In addition to age, alcohol-based mouthwashes and more than 400 medications can cause dry mouth.
If you ignore a cavity, that hole in your tooth will just keep getting bigger and bigger. Infection, tooth sensitivity to hot and cold, severe tooth pain, and eventual tooth loss is what the future holds in store. And don’t forget about the horrible breath that goes with it!
The good news is: when caught early enough, it is entirely possible to reverse the effects of tooth decay.
1. Cut Back on Carbs
We all know that sugary colas and candies aren’t great for our teeth. But it’s less obvious carbs like white bread, pasta, potato chips, crackers, and breakfast cereals that are secretly sabotaging our oral health.
These fermentable carbs are easily broken down, producing a smorgasbord of acid in the mouth. Acid erodes enamel. Plus, these foods tend to stick to the grooves of our teeth, making the acid attack even worse.
Can’t resist a carb load? Make sure to drink water with it and swish post-meal to cleanse the teeth.
2. Keep Your Mouth Moist
Fight dry mouth in order to avoid all that bacteria buildup that can rot the teeth. Drink plenty of water all day long. Acidic drinks like coffee, cola, fruit juice and alcohol should be enjoyed in moderation.
If you’re using alcohol-based mouthwash, that’s a big no-no, as it dries out the mouth, and in the process, gives you bad breath.
3. Wait 30 Minutes
After having acidic food or drink, hold off on brushing for at least 30 minutes. Acid weakens the tooth enamel, and if you brush immediately after, you increase your odds of damaging and weakening your teeth.
4. Stop Bad Snack Habits
Nothing wrong with having snacks, but if you’re snacking all the time (and not making good snack choices to boot), then your mouth is in a constant cycle of acid production.
5. Practice Good Oral Health
This is such a no-brainer, but it had to make the list. Surprisingly, so many people just don’t have good oral health habits. Brush at least twice a day, floss before bedtime, and by all means: keep those regularly scheduled dental appointments!
6. Use Dental Products with Fluoride
Using dental products with fluoride is your best solution to reverse decay and prevent cavities. Fluoride is a mighty mineral that reduces the ability of bacteria to make acid. It also helps prevent and rebuild mineral loss in tooth enamel.
Buyer beware: not all fluoride dental products are the same. Some stain the teeth, and other products have so much artificial junk in them that you’ll have more problems to worry about than just cavities!
Dentists have been recommending Oxyfresh fluoride formulas for over 30 years ... and we know they’ll make a huge difference in the dental health of your family.
Our fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash contain a neutral, non-staining sodium fluoride, plus Oxygene®. This is our exclusive, non-toxic ingredient that neutralizes bacteria and gives you fresh breath for up to 6 hours.
Fresh Mint Fluoride Mouthwash: This alcohol-free mouthwash fights cavities with a safe and effective concentration of non-staining fluoride. No sugar, dyes or artificial junk! It’s sweetened with xylitol, a natural plaque-fighting ingredient found in fruits and veggies, plus natural peppermint oil for a refreshing taste with no dry mouth! More information...
Fluoride Toothpaste: Oxyfresh Fluoride Toothpaste is super-concentrated (lasts 4 times longer than store brands) and flavored with natural peppermint oil and xylitol, a natural plaque-fighting ingredient. Zinc and Oxygene® wipe out odors, and non-staining fluoride fights cavities. Dye-free and low-abrasion to protect your enamel. More information...
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