You've probably been told since you were a kid to do everything you can to avoid cavities. But if you're like most of us, you may still be a bit hazy on the facts about tooth decay. Learn how to separate truth from fiction and you'll be on your way to a trouble-free smile.
1. Myth: Sugar Is the Only Thing That Causes Cavities
"The truth is, acid produced by bacteria in your mouth is the cause of cavities," says Kimberly A. Harms, DDS, an American Dental Association spokeswoman.
Any carb you eat can start that process. That includes sugar as well as rice, potatoes, bread, fruits, and vegetables.
2. Fact: Acid Causes Tooth Decay
Acidic foods can break down your teeth's outer shell (called the enamel), weaken the tooth, and make teeth more likely to decay.
"The bacteria responsible for tooth decay produces acids," says Misty Horn-Blake, DDS, a dentist in John...
Good oral and dental hygiene can help you avoid cavities and tooth decay. Below are some tips to help prevent cavities. Ask your dentist which tips are best for you.
Brush with fluoride toothpaste after eating or drinking. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and ideally after every meal, using fluoride-containing toothpaste. To clean between your teeth, floss or use an interdental cleaner. If you can't brush after eating, at least try to rinse your mouth with water. If you have a young child, ask the dentist how much fluoride toothpaste to put on your child's toothbrush so your child gets the cavity-fighting benefits without getting too much fluoride.
Rinse your mouth. If your dentist feels you have a high risk of developing cavities, he or she may recommend that you use a mouth rinse with fluoride.