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5 Easy Ways To Reduce Your Risk of Cavities in the New Year
January 7, 2022
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Closeup of vegetable tray with assorted cut vegetables and dip

The diet and lifestyle choices you make each day affect your systemic health, and they also determine how healthy your teeth are. If you feel as if the condition of your teeth always seems to be less than perfect every time you leave routine dental cleanings and exams, it may be time to re-evaluate your habits.

The new year is an excellent opportunity for self-improvement! Here are five easy ways to reduce your risk of cavities and make 2022 the year of perfect dental health.

Establish a Dietary Lifestyle That’s Healthy

Making a conscious effort to eat healthier, more nutritious foods is the first step in taking care of your body and your teeth. Build your diet up around these healthy choices:

Raw Vegetables. Raw vegetables contain nutrients that you can’t get anywhere else. The perfect snack option, vegetables, work as a natural toothbrush, removing bacteria from your teeth before they can affect your enamel.

Fresh Fruits. Raw fruits contain healthy nutrients that make for the perfect, natural snack when your sweet tooth strikes. Stay away from dried fruits because they stick to your teeth, cause cavities, and are often just as damaging as a piece of candy.

Water. Water is the best thing you can drink for your entire body. By drinking water throughout the day instead of a soda or juice, you’re rinsing food particles from your teeth and also keeping your body hydrated. Drinking water will help make you feel more aware and awake, even during the dreaded afternoon stretch.

Dairy. Dairy contains phosphorus, calcium, and other enamel-strengthening nutrients. Plain yogurt and cheese help balance the mouth’s pH levels, neutralizing acids, and help to prevent enamel wear.

Avoid Enamel-Damaging Habits

The snack and drink choices you make every day can soon wreak havoc on your teeth if you’re often consuming these top offenders:

Sugar. One of the best places to start a healthier lifestyle is to become aware of just how much sugar you’re consuming daily. Sugar is a top offender when it comes to whole-body health. Consuming too much can lead to cavities, obesity, and diabetes. The sugar you consume should only provide 5% of your daily energy, meaning you should be consuming no more than 25 grams of sugar a day. Not checking labels on foods first can empower you to consume your entire daily allowance while enjoying your morning yogurt or turning that “healthy” protein bar into a secret candy bar.

Beverages. Your tooth enamel is porous, and when you drink dark-colored liquids, the staining compounds enter your enamel and stay there. Over time, habitual drinking causes these stains to build up and cause discoloration. Drinking dark-colored fluids high in sugar is even more damaging to your teeth and coats them in a sugar bath with every sip.

Acidic Foods and Drinks. Your enamel shields the inner layers of your teeth. When it wears away, it’s easier for cavities to form the dentin to become damaged. Acidic snacks lower your mouth’s pH levels, giving acids free rein to erode enamel. Steer clear of things like coffee, soda, and citrus fruits and juices whenever possible.

Improve Your Oral Hygiene

The start of a new year is an ideal time to check in on how much effort you’re putting into your current hygiene routine. Evaluating how much time and energy you’re giving to brushing and flossing can help to give your teeth the extra boost they need to stay healthy and cavity-free. The most effortless ways to improve on your oral hygiene routine are by:

Checking your technique – Start by brushing the outward-facing, tongue-facing, and chewing surfaces of your teeth. Give extra attention to your molars because they have the most cracks and fissures.

Using the right toothpaste – A fluoride toothpaste is helpful for those with sensitive teeth who need extra help in fighting cavities.

Getting a new toothbrush – You should be switching to a new toothbrush every three months. Bacteria builds up on toothbrush bristles over time, and old toothbrushes can do more harm than good. Make sure you’re using a soft-bristled toothbrush to help protect your gums.

Incorporating a mouth rinse – For some patients, consistently using a mouth rinse with fluoride helps improve bad breath and kills harmful plaque-causing bacteria.

Flossing – Get in a flossing habit that you can do every day to help establish a routine.

Identify Other Harmful Habits That May Be Causing Tooth Decay

Consider these risk factors to learn more about how seemingly harmless habits might be leading to cavities.

  • Frequent snacking
  • Certain foods and drinks high in sugar or carbohydrates
  • Grinding your teeth while you sleep or during stressful times
  • Not getting enough fluoride
  • Suffering from dry mouth

Talk to Your Dentist About Your Concerns

Your dentist knows better than anyone why you have frequent cavities. At your next exam, ask about areas of your mouth that have plaque buildup and what you can do to improve for your next dental checkup. Our experts at Hinsdale Dentistry can give you pointers on easy ways to upgrade your oral hygiene routine so 2022 can be the year your teeth stay cavity-free. Contact us today to schedule your first exam of the new year.