5 Easy Ways to Prevent Cavities and Maintain a Bright Smile

A person’s smile is one of the first things people notice about them. While most of us don’t go around judging others’ teeth consciously, it’s a behavior that’s been part of human nature for millennia, ever since having good teeth was a sign of wealth and prosperity.

Today, this ingrained survival trait makes those with less-than-perfect teeth more self-conscious about their smile. Luckily, dentistry has come a long way, and it’s easier than ever to get orthodontic treatment to straighten your teeth and cosmetic options to fix cracks and spaces.

But one thing that only you can address is cavity prevention. Cavities happen when bacteria and other microorganisms get into the enamel and eat away at it. They lead to discoloration, decay, and, eventually, loose or missing teeth. In fact, cavities are the most common dental disease in the world, yet they’re easily preventable.

Ready to find out how to keep your bright, healthy smile for as long as possible? Use these five simple tips to prevent cavities and confidently show off your winning grin to everyone you meet.

1. Brush Twice a Day

It doesn’t matter if you’ve already had cavities in your past, as 9 out of 10 adults just like you have. You can start taking steps today to avoid developing more. This prevention is crucial because the cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth can spread to your body and even be shared with others.

The key bacteria avoidance step is to remove acid and plaque before they can begin eroding your tooth. As long as there is no cavity yet, it’s possible for the enamel to remineralize itself with your daily dental hygiene activities.

Brushing in the morning cleans out the microorganisms that have made their home in your mouth overnight. Then, brushing before bedtime gets rid of the acid, sugars, and bacteria that have accumulated as you’ve eaten and drank liquids that day.

If you grind your teeth in your sleep (a condition called bruxism), wearing a night guard at bedtime is necessary to ensure the contact between your upper and lower arches doesn’t erode the enamel. This connection will also lead to decay and cavities.

This article by JS Dental Lab explains the various types of night guards and why they’re so essential to your oral health. But be sure to keep your night guard clean before you wear it each day to avoid adding more bacteria to your mouth!

2. Floss and Mouthwash, Too!

But wait! You’re not done yet. After spending two minutes scrubbing your teeth in little circles, rinse the toothpaste out and then grab your floss (either a picture or string works fine).

Since your teeth have five sides (go ahead and count them), it’s challenging for your brush to reach all of the nooks and crannies on every tooth. Flossing grabs the extra debris your toothbrush missed, keeping it from building up and turning into plaque and tartar. At the same time, this seconds-long action helps strengthen your gums.

Finish off with a mouthwash rinse with or without fluoride, depending on your needs, and you’ve done the crucial job of preventing cavities that day.

3. Add Fluoride

When we were children, most of us watched or participated in the occasional classroom fluoride rinse experience. Fluoride is an essential mineral that helps strengthen the enamel on the outside of your tooth, and it’s particularly vital during childhood. However, if your teeth are prone to cavities, fluoride can also help reinforce the enamel and fight against decay.

This mineral is easily found in most toothpaste and mouthwash. You can also add it to your day by drinking tap water or getting a special sealant from your dentist.

4. Stay Hydrated

Remember how we mentioned that getting rid of the sugars and acids before they eat away at your enamel is important? Your body has a natural way of doing this through your salivary glands. But if you aren’t drinking enough water, the glands can’t create enough saliva to rinse your mouth throughout the day.

By drinking water — yes, water, not flavored water or other drinks — you wash away the particles from the other foods and beverages you’ve ingested. Your teeth look and feel cleaner, and you’ve taken another major step in the fight against cavities.

5. Eat Smile-Healthy Foods

Finally, what you choose to eat can make or break your healthy smile. Eating nutritious, vitamin-packed foods instead of sugary, acidic, sticky, or chewy meals ensures your teeth remain in good shape over the years.

Some foods are even known as having enhanced mouth-healthy nutrition. To fortify your enamel against cavities, add crunchy, crispy fruits and vegetables to your diet.  Carrots, celery, and apples are ideal tooth-friendly snacks. The saying, “An apple a day keeps the dentist away,” is based on facts!

On the other hand, grapefruit, oranges, and other citrus fruits are good for your body but not so great for your mouth. They’re acidic, which can damage your teeth.

Remember that every fruit is full of natural sugars, so if you eat these sweet, healthy treats, brush afterward!


Your at-home, daily dental routine is your best bet in keeping a bright, healthy smile. However, even the best care doesn’t catch everything. Be sure you visit your dentist at least twice a year for regular cleanings and exams, and follow these tips for the ultimate cavity prevention!

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