5 Habits You Need to Change to Prevent Cavities

By | March 19, 2019
5 Habits You Need to Change to Prevent Cavities 1

Cavities are the result of accumulated bad habits you have developed over the years. To protect your pearly whites from ruin and tooth decay, it’s important to look at how your daily habits and lifestyle choices affect your dental health.

Making simple changes to your daily habit can be enough to prevent the formation of cavities and keep your teeth healthy and your smile white.

What causes cavities?

Before getting into the lifestyle changes necessary to prevent cavities, you first need to understand what exactly causes cavities to form. This is one of the common dental questions people have.

Cavities can be the result of varying factors, but normally can be associated with poor dental hygiene. Things like frequent snacking, bacteria in the mouth, fizzy sodas,  sugary carbohydrates, and not properly cleaning your teeth can all contribute to the formation of cavities. When a combination of these factors forms bacteria and plaque in your mouth, the enamel on your teeth could dissolve, creating cavities.


Depending on the location, timeframe, and the severity of the cavity, certain symptoms will become evident. This includes:

  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Mild to sharp pain particularly when eating or drinking or if food is hot or cold
  • Toothaches
  • Staining on the surface of a tooth
  • Visible holes in your teeth

Initially, though, no symptoms may be present. But as time and decay increases, the signs, and symptoms of cavities will be present.

Beyond brushing and flossing, there are certain daily habits that aggravate oral health and initiates the creation of cavities. By changing these habits, you’ll be left with a healthier, brighter smile.

1. Brush regularly

This is perhaps the most obvious and immediate lifestyle change. But nonetheless, it’s a crucial part of maintaining better oral health. Brushing your teeth properly and on a daily basis fights against bacteria and plaque buildup.

At the minimum, you should aim to brush your teeth twice a day, two minutes a day. This removes enamel-damaging acid from your teeth, limits the growth of tooth decay, and ultimately, cavities.

2. Floss and rinse daily

While brushing your teeth regularly will do a great job of minimizing bacteria and plaque, brushing alone won’t completely eliminate them. This is where flossing comes in.

Flossing gets into those hard-to-reach spaces such as between your teeth and below the gum line, removing possible plaque buildup. Not flossing daily allows bacteria to fester between teeth which will eventually cause cavities to form.

After you’re done flossing, an antiseptic or fluoride rinse will help further prevent tooth decay by getting rid of plaque and bacteria.

3. Stop smoking

Stop smoking to prevent cavities

By all accounts, smoking is a bad habit. Smoking can be a determinant factor in fatal diseases like lung cancer and emphysema. When it comes to your oral health, smoking can result in heavier plaque buildup and tooth decay or in some serious cases, oral cancer.

Most smokers will often also have severe discoloration on their teeth.

There are many ways to stop smoking. If you’re ready to quit smoking, consult your doctor. They can give you valuable advice on solutions and provide support to help you remain confident in your decision to quit smoking.

4. Watch what you eat

Foods that are sugary, sticky, and starchy can leave behind cavity-causing acids that will eventually dissolve enamel and form cavities. Frequent snacking can also lead to the creation of cavities as it increases the amount of time sugary, starchy substances linger on your teeth.

For those with an undeniable sweet tooth, choose fresh non-acidic fruits, instead of sweets like candy and caramel. And for those with a desire to frequently snack, a handful of fruits and veggies or nuts will satisfy your desire to snack while improving your oral and overall health.

If you must snack or eat sugary food, brush and rinse your teeth immediately after. The right supplements such as those rich in fish oil,  Vitamin D, and probiotics provide support for improved oral care. They strengthen teeth and prevent tooth decay.

5. Avoid sugary beverages

Sweet drinks can also make your teeth increasingly susceptible to tooth decay and cavities. Beverages like sodas, sports drinks, and fruit juices contain plenty of sugar that can be left behind on your teeth. 

Carbonated sodas especially have acid content that can weaken tooth enamel, resulting in gum disease, tooth decay, and cavities.

If you find it hard to resist these sweet beverages, its best to enjoy them through a straw. Sipping through a straw helps the sugar and acid content in your beverages avoid contact with your teeth, reducing its harmful effects.

Of course, the best course of action is to hydrate with water or flavored beverages like herbal tea and water infused with lemon juice and honey.

Getting rid of cavities

Prevention is the ideal solution to oral wellness, but if your teeth have developed tooth decay or cavities, then it might be time for a visit to the dentist’s office. Dentists are able to determine if your teeth have cavities and require treatment. Their restorative dentistry methods can salvage and restore decaying teeth.

This is why it’s important to schedule a regular dental checkup with your dentist as their years of professional experience can detect subtle changes in your oral health, ensuring your teeth remain white, healthy, and as cavity-free for years to come.

Author: Dr. Yvette Porter

She is the founding dentist at Apple Dental in Newstead, Brisbane, which she started over 11 years ago, and continues to own and practice there today. She works with a team of female dentists who aim to provide gentle, and affordable dental care to patients in Brisbane. Dr. Porter is a member of the Australian Dental Association and is passionate about family, and children’s dentistry, hoping to make their dental experience truly pleasant.

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