Cavities are the most common dental issue, and dental fillings are the most performed dental treatments. About 90% of adults over age 20 have at least one cavity.
At DentAlign NYC, composite (tooth-colored) dental fillings treat cavities, but Kenn Kakosian, DDS, PhD, believes prevention is always better than the cure. That’s why he helps patients in Midtown East Manhattan, New York City, do what they can to reduce their need for fillings in the first place.
Here are some effective measures to take to minimize your risk of needing a dental filling.
Maintain a consistent oral hygiene routine
The foundation of good oral health starts with a solid oral hygiene routine. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristle toothbrush. Don't forget to brush your tongue to remove bacteria. Floss daily to clean between your teeth and along the gumline.
Use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash
Fluoride strengthens your tooth enamel, which makes it more resistant to decay. Ensure your toothpaste and mouthwash contain fluoride to help protect your teeth. Look for the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance on toothpaste and mouthwash.
Limit sugary and acidic foods
Bacteria in your mouth thrive on sugars and produce acids that erode your tooth enamel. Reduce consumption of sugary and acidic foods and drinks, such as candies, sodas, and fruit juices. Rinse your mouth with water afterward or brush your teeth if you do indulge.
Tip: check your coffee beverages for sugar content. Many blended coffee beverages come loaded with sugar.
Opt for tooth-friendly snacks
Choose tooth-friendly snacks like fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, which help neutralize acids, promote saliva production, and aid in protecting your teeth.
Consider orthodontic treatment
Believe it or not, orthodontic treatment can also help reduce your risk of developing a cavity. If you have crowded teeth, it can increase your risk of developing a cavity between your teeth, which is called an interproximal cavity. Having your teeth straightened with Invisalign ® clear aligners can help reduce your need for a filling related to interproximal cavities.
Drink plenty of water
Water is not only essential for overall health but also for maintaining good oral hygiene. Drinking water helps wash away food particles, bacteria, and acids; the risk of cavities decreases as bacteria are flushed.
Chew sugar-free gum
Chewing sugar-free gum can stimulate saliva production, especially after meals. Adequate saliva helps neutralize acid in your mouth and reduce your risk of developing cavities.
Sugar-free gum is also a good swap for craving sweet candy.
Wear a mouthguard for sports
If you're involved in contact sports or activities with a risk of oral injuries, wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth from trauma. Broken teeth can create an entry for bacteria to infiltrate your tooth and impact your dental pulp.
Avoid smoking and tobacco products
Smoking and tobacco use stains teeth and increases the risk of gum disease, oral cancer, and tooth decay. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 40% of smokers between ages 20 and 64 have untreated cavities. Quitting these habits can significantly improve oral health and reduce your risk for gum disease and tooth decay.
Consider dental sealants
Dental sealants are thin, protective coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of your molars and premolars. They help prevent food particles and bacteria from accumulating in the crevices of these teeth by sealing them out, which reduces the risk of cavities and helps you avoid the need for fillings.
Regular dental checkups
Don't skip your regular dental checkups. Dr. Kakosian and the team at DentAlign NYC can detect early signs of cavities and other dental issues before they become problems. Early intervention can often prevent the need for dental fillings.
Need to schedule your next cleaning?
Even with the best at-home routine, it’s important to schedule and attend your routine dental exam and cleanings. Schedule a visit and checkup by calling 716-350-0665 or using our online booking tool.