Clean your teeth well: Food and plaque sticking to teeth will cause decay.
Brush: (electric helps many) 2minutes twice a day. Two minutes is a long time. If you’re not timing it, you’re probably doing way less than a minute.
Floss: Once a day is ideal. Once a week won’t cut it.
Whatever it takes. We’ll show you what else might work for you…proxy brushes, rubber tips, toothpicks.
What and how often you eat and drink matters. Frequency matters.
Teeth dissolve when we are eating or drinking just about anything….and for 15 minutes after we stop eating or drinking. Then, our saliva rebuilds the minerals in our enamel. If we eat 3 or 4 or 5 times a day, that’s how many times we “dissolve” our teeth, but usually the saliva gets enough time in between (if you’re cleaning them right) to rebuild them.
We’ve seen people get lots of cavities when they:
· Snack frequently
· Sip on sodas, juices, or any other drink with sugar frequently.
· Chew gum, suck on candies, or lozenges that contain sugar.
· We had one patient who grew a bunch of cavities by snacking on carrots!
Imagine your teeth dissolving 10+ times per day.
The solution? Eat your 3 main meals and minimize snacking. If you want a soda, drink it with your meals, and don’t sip it for hours. Avoid snacks or drinks between meals that dissolve teeth- stick with water, tea, or coffee without sweeteners. Avoid sticky, gooey snacks, but remember that even healthy snack like fruits and carrot sticks can cause cavities if munched on too frequently
Toothpaste: If you’re getting a lot of cavities, we’re going to recommend a high fluoride toothpaste. An example is Prevident 5000. These toothpastes are available by prescription only.
Fluoride: In addition to fluoride toothpastes, fluoride can be found in several other forms. We may recommend fluoride rinses, gels, or tablets that you use every day depending on your age and individual needs. Act and Listerine Total Care are examples of fluoride rinses that can be purchased over the counter. Gel-Kam is an example of an over the counter fluoride gel. Fluoride tablets are taken as a prescription for children up to age 15 unless they are drinking fluoridated bottled water.
Xylitol: This is an alcohol based sugar that inhibits the ability of bacteria to form cavities. It can be found in chewing gums by the brand names Trident and Orbit. BUT, you must look for it as one of the first ingredients on the package because not all of the gums they make contain significant amounts of xorbitol. We’re not wanting you to chew too much gum, because it can bother your jaw joints, so we also recommend you look for xorbitol containing mints that you just suck on. Examples of xylitol mints.
Germ Killing Rinses: Chlorhexidine containing rinses available by prescription have been shown to change the types of bacteria in many people’s mouth from bad to good (from the type of bacteria that like to cause cavities to the type that doesn’t). Using this rinse 2 times per day for 2 weeks every 3 months has helped many patients and we may recommend it for you.
Dry Mouth: Saliva production may decrease over the years, and many medications can cause dry mouth. Saliva has cleansing and buffering capabilities, so a decrease in saliva can lead to the formation of many cavities. Sipping water (PLAIN water) frequently may help, and many of the items mentioned in the pamphlet can help counter the effects of dry mouth. In addition, there are products on the market that act to help treat dry mouth – Biotene being among those we may recommend for you to use.