Simple ways to prevent dental cavities

The best way to protect your teeth from cavities is by brushing them and flossing regularly...but there other things you can do

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Dental caries (also known as tooth decay or dental cavities) is the most common noncommunicable disease worldwide. A tooth cavity is a decayed area that develop into tiny openings or holes inside your tooth.

When it comes to cavities, prevention is your best best. A few simple practices can prevent this decay or stop it before it forms a cavity.

Simple ways to prevent dental cavities

1. Practise dental hygiene

Obviously, the best way to protect your teeth from cavities is by brushing them and flossing regularly, and also by avoiding large amounts of sugar. Dental plaque—a filmy coating of bacteria, food particles and mucous—contributes to the break-down of dental enamel by leeching minerals out of the teeth. Practicing good dental hygiene can help keep plaque at bay.

2. Avoid sugary foods and drinks, especially carbonated drinks

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends cutting down on sugary foods and drinks in order to prevent cavities.

Sugar is known to be among the top culprits that cause cavities. When you consume sugar foods or drinks, certain bacteria combine with the sugar to produce harmful acids that corrode the tooth enamel.

3. Have green tea

Beyond the basics, studies have shown that green tea is a good source of naturally-occurring fluoride, which hardens tooth enamel and, therefore, helps prevent cavities. Drinking 2-4 cups of organic green tea everyday, without sugar and milk, can help keep the dentist away!

4. Start a regular calcium supplement

Supplemental calcium may also help. A calcium-rich diet that includes vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains, strengthens the teeth and helps protect tooth enamel against attacks by acid-forming bacteria. Even a slice of well-aged cheese, such as cheddar, can help. Eat it right before meals to help eliminate acid production of plaque.

5. Try oil pulling

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that involves swishing oil around your mouth to rid it of harmful germs. Oil pulling has been found to reduce the amount of plaque and bacteria as effectively as a mouthwash. (Read more about oil pulling.

Toothache? Try clove essential oil

If you do have a toothache, you can apply clove essential oil directly to the tooth and gums to help dull the pain while you’re on your way to your dentist’s office. Use a cotton swab to help apply the essential oil directly.

 
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A version of this appeared in the August 2007 issue of Cpmplete Wellbeing

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Ryan Harrison
Ryan N Harrison, a holistic health educator and consultant in private practice, holds a post-graduate degree in transpersonal psychology and certifications as nutritional consultant, holistic health practitioner, spiritual counsellor, quantum-touch practitioner; and advanced practitioner of EFT [Emotional Freedom Techniques]. He also teaches and lectures in online and traditional settings. He lives in California, USA.

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