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We’ve all been told what to do to fight cavities, but do you know WHY the tips help? Let’s look at some common dental advice and see why it works!

Brush and Floss: Brush and floss your teeth! We have heard this advice since we were children. Here are the basics: brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes each time. Some individuals find it helpful to set a series of four 30-second timers, one for each quadrant of the mouth. Floss once per day, every day. Floss around the entirety of each tooth. This should take two to three minutes each session.

Proper oral hygiene habits prevent plaque buildup. Plaque is made of living bacteria, which eat the sugar present in food particles left in your mouth. The bacteria create an acidic byproduct that coats the teeth and erodes tooth enamel until a cavity forms, exposing the inner tissues of the tooth to infection. Brushing and flossing remove the food particles and bacteria from teeth, thus reducing cavity formation.

Reduce Acid Intake: Acid from bacteria forms cavities, as we learned, but so does acid from foods and drinks. To help reduce cavities, reduce your intake of acidic drinks (such as wine, soda, energy drinks and sports drinks). If you do choose to drink these beverages, use a straw if you can. This will help protect the teeth from exposure to the acid.

Chew Gum: After eating or drinking, any acids from the food or drink temporarily soften the tooth enamel. Thus, it is best not to brush right away after eating (unless directed to do so by your dentist). Instead, encourage the body’s natural defense—saliva—by chewing a piece of sugarless gum. The excess saliva created because of chewing gum will wash food particles away from teeth and help to neutralize the acids. This prepares your teeth for brushing. Stick to sugarless gum, as sugar-sweetened gum feed the bacteria you are trying to fight.

For more information, call 21st Century Dental Care in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, at (908) 604-5959. Dr. Vitaly Friedman and our team look forward to seeing you soon!