By Crissy Lee, Registered Dental Hygienist; DOC – Gastonia
In commemoration of Dental Hygiene Month in October, become an oral health champion this month and EVERY DAY! Just brushing two or three times a day isn’t enough to create healthy smiles. First, understand what causes cavities and the four simple steps you can take to help prevent them.
According to Crissy Lee, who is part of our dental hygiene team, the common causes of cavities include:
- Poor oral hygiene. Not brushing or flossing regularly can create cavity-causing bacteria.
- Sugary foods and drinks. Sports drinks, sodas, juices, and acidic foods and drinks can contribute to the breakdown of enamel.
- Dry mouth. This can sometimes be due to medications
- Genetic predisposition and/or anatomy of the teeth, such as deep grooves that trap bacteria.
- Cavities can spread from tooth to tooth and person to person.
In addition to regularly dental visits for checkups and cleanings, follow the Daily 4 as recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA):
- Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes, with a soft-bristled brush.
- Floss once a day to clean between your teeth and gums, and to remove any plaque. Rinse – along with brushing and flossing – with an alcohol-free mouth wash.
- Chew sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating or drinking, especially when on-the-go.
These four simple steps can help prevent tooth decay, gum disease and infection, while building good oral health habits and healthy smiles!