Cavities cause discomfort, both for your mouth _and_ your wallet. Here are a few ways to minimize your risk.
- Step 1: Avoid sticky, sugary foods such as soda and candy.
- Step 2: Chew gum – as long as it doesn't contain sugar. Gum chewing increases saliva in the mouth, which helps restore tooth enamel.
- Step 3: Visit your dentist regularly for checkups, so if you do get cavities, they're caught early.
- FACT: Americans spend almost 39 days brushing teeth during their lifetime.
- Step 4: Green and black tea help reduce plaque, a sticky substance that coats teeth and weakens enamel. Be sure to drink the tea without sugar or other sweeteners.
- Step 5: In addition to preventive care, eat plenty of calcium-rich foods, such as low-fat milk and other dairy products, and leafy greens like kale and bok choy.
- TIP: Fluoride is a chemical that incorporates itself into the enamel, strengthening it and protecting you from cavities.
- Step 6: After brushing, floss between your teeth. This helps remove any bits of food.
- Step 7: Rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash to kill the bacteria that cause cavities.
- TIP: Dentists recommend brushing and flossing after every meal; if that's not possible, rinse your mouth with water.
- Step 8: The first line of defense from cavities is brushing twice a day. Use a toothpaste with fluoride and a soft-bristle toothbrush for best results and less abrasive action.