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July 17, 2009

Cavity-Prone? Add in an extra brush!

If you would classify yourself as “cavity-prone”, here’s some advice on how you can do your part in cavity-prevention:

1) Brush your teeth 3 times a day.  Most people brush their teeth in the morning, have breakfast, lunch, dinner and then brush their teeth before they go to bed.  Think about it, that’s 8+ hours that food, plaque & tartar are sitting on and around your teeth!  So, take an extra toothbrush (you know, the ones your dentist gives you every 6 months) to work and brush right after lunch.  That’ll cut that time in half and give you better breath throughout the day, too.

2)  Cut down on your sugar intake.  It’s OK to have a sweet tooth, but if you’re bathing your teeth in sugar constantly and not removing the plaque off of your teeth, it’s a recipe for more cavities.  Again, brush in the middle of the day and immediately after eating sweets.  Soft Drinks are a big culprit in causing tooth decay.  Sodas are very acidic and most are very high in sugar.  This combination can be primed for causing cavities.

3)  Use supplemental  fluoride.  This can be in the form of an over-the-counter fluoride rinse, a prescription for fluoride gel written by your dentist, or a prescription toothpaste that has a higher fluoride content than regular toothpaste.  Some people just have cavity-prone teeth that they inherit from a parent or other have teeth that didn’t develop well from some interruption during their childhood.  Whatever the case, for some people preventing cavities is a constant uphill battle that never goes away.

I always tell my cavity-prone patients that they have to work twice as hard as my other patients because “those are the cards they were dealt.”  After all, to some extent, all of us have our faults and at least with cavities, you can do something about it.   I’m only 5’4″ tall…would I like to be 6′ tall?  Of course.  But I can’t do anything about the cards I was dealt.

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