Did you know that, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 92 percent of adults ages 20-64 have had cavities? Cavities are a common problem, but they are often preventable, both for yourself and for your kids!

Let’s take a look at these top 8 tips from the experts at Mayo Clinic and NIDCR to help avoid tooth decay and cavities.

  1. Brush your teeth! You should brush at least twice a day, or, if possible, after each meal.
  2. Get your teeth professionally cleaned regularly! Don’t skip those dentist appointments. A regular checkup goes a long way!
  3. Drink at least some tap water. Tap water contains fluoride, a mineral that slows tooth decay and can even reverse early or mild cases of decay!
  4. Limit snacking. Frequent snacking puts your tooth enamel under constant attack by the new sugars and acids that are entering your mouth. Less snacking gives your teeth more time to repair themselves and defend against bad bacteria.
  5. Be choosy about what you snack on. Crunchy foods like chips, cookies, or hard candy can leave particles lodged in your teeth for hours. If you choose to snack on foods of a crunchy nature, make sure to floss and brush your teeth afterward. (Chewing sugar-free gum or drinking unsweetened coffee or tea can also help wash harmful food particles away from your teeth.)
  6. Put your saliva to work! Your saliva contains teeth-healthy bacteria and minerals that fight decay. Fresh fruits and vegetables increase your saliva flow and make great snack options.
  7. Don’t eat right before bed. Your saliva output decreases while you sleep, so your teeth are more vulnerable to attack. It’s important for you (and your kids) not to eat anything once you’ve brushed your teeth at night!
  8. Consider a dental sealant or antibacterial treatment. If your teeth are especially prone to decay for hereditary or medical reasons, ask your dentist about the possibility of using a dental sealant or an antibacterial or fluoride rinse. These can provide an additional measure of protection.

With the right care, your teeth are built to last for a lifetime! Let these tips help you strategize for another year of a happy, healthy smile.

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