7 Things You Can Do to Prevent Tooth Decay

Dentist showing a child how to brush their teeth

If you’ve had a cavity in a permanent tooth, you’re not alone. Over 90 percent of adults ages 20 to 64 have or have had decay caused by bacteria that attacks tooth enamel. After age 65, nearly 96 percent of people have or have had dental cavities. Fortunately, it’s possible for you to avoid cavities. Here are seven things you can do to prevent tooth decay.

  1. Eat licorice root – Researchers believe extracts from a Chinese licorice plant might be helpful in fighting bacteria that cause tooth decay. A new lollipop made from this licorice extract is showing signs of being a helpful remedy for controlling harmful oral bacteria.
  2. Consume foods high in vitamin D and calcium – Studies with young children show that eating foods high in vitamin D and calcium, such as milk and yogurt, may help reduce oral decay.
  3. Reduce sugar – Dentists report that sugar is one of the leading causes of tooth decay. Sugar mixes with mouth bacteria forming an acid that attacks tooth enamel. Reduce the amount of sugar consumed to less than 10 percent of your total daily calories.
  4. Try oil pulling – Swish a tablespoon of sesame or coconut oil around your mouth once a day for about 20 minutes before spitting it out. Dental experts believe the oil helps reduce oral bacteria that can adhere to plaque and cause gingivitis. Also, aloe vera tooth gel may reduce bacteria and remineralize tooth enamel before serious cavities develop.
    Father and daughter brushing their teeth in a mirror
  5. Brush with fluoride toothpaste – Brushing teeth twice daily for two minutes each time with fluoride toothpaste can strengthen tooth enamel and prevent decay. And don’t forget to floss once a day to remove food particles stuck between your teeth and gums.
  6. Chew sugar-free gum – Several studies have shown that chewing sugar-free gum after meals can help control bacteria that cause decay. Gums containing xylitol also can stimulate saliva, naturally cleansing tooth surfaces to keep enamel healthy.
  7. Schedule dental exams – It’s important to see the dentist regularly for a dental exam and teeth cleaning once or twice a year. During the appointment, the dentist will look for signs of decay, oral diseases, or medical conditions that could lead to more serious problems. And your teeth will be cleaned to remove plaque that could wear down enamel and harbor bacteria that causes decay.

Learn more about new dental treatments by reading these blogs: 

The Future of Dental Care: New Treatment May Ease Concerns, Improve Oral Health
How 7 New Dental Treatments Make it Easier to Take Care of Your Teeth 

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