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How to prevent cavities and tooth decay

What are cavities?

A cavity is a hole in your tooth caused by tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when your enamel breaks down, usually from plaque and bacteria in your mouth that slowly eat away at your tooth. Tooth decay may take years to develop into an actual cavity. When caught very early, tooth decay may be reversed through the use of fluoride or other preventive care you can discuss with your dentist.

What are some causes of cavities?

  • Bacteria and plaque in your mouth.
  • It's not just about candy and soda. Cavities can also be caused by frequent consumption of starchy, refined carbohydrate foods such as chips, crackers and cookies. Or sugary drinks such as fruit juices and energy or sports drinks.
  • Not keeping up with your daily oral health routine, such as brushing and flossing.

How can I prevent tooth decay?

  • Brush with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day, and floss once a day.
  • Eat nutritious meals and limit snacking on starchy and sugary treats.
  • Talk with your dentist about the need for topical fluoride and sealants to protect you or your child’s teeth from tooth decay.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for preventive care.