7 Ways to Prevent Cavities

Do you want to visit the dentist and get a clean bill of health each time? Learning how to prevent cavities will go a long way towards ensuring you don't need to come back and get a filling.

The tooth decay that leads to cavities occurs when the bacteria in your mouth form a sticky plaque on your teeth.

When you eat or drink, bacteria use the sugars in the food and one of the by products is acid. The sticky plaque holds this acid against your teeth where it attacks your tooth enamel, leading decay and cavities.


Watch Now: 7 Tips for Preventing Cavities


Brush Your Teeth

Girl brushing her teeth
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In the fight against cavities, it is essential that you brush your teeth properly at least twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride.​ You can use a regular toothbrush or an electric toothbrush. Be sure to brush all sides of your teeth: front, back, and top. Brushing your teeth removes the plaque, but it will form again in a few hours, so you have to brush at least twice a day.


Floss or Clean Between Your Teeth Daily

Flossing your teeth
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Food debris gets caught in between your teeth when you eat. If the debris is not removed, it can lead to cavities.Flossing or using an interdental cleaner every day is the best way to remove food debris from in between the teeth.


Eat Healthy

Healthy Food
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Proper nutrition plays an important role in good dental health.

Eating nutritional snacks and limiting the amount of sugary drinks will help to prevent plaque from forming on your teeth. Drink water instead.

Don't make a habit of having frequent sugary snacks, including hard candy and other snacks that contain sugar.


Visit Your Dentist and Dental Hygienist

Visiting the dentist
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Many cavities can only be detected by a dentist or a dental X-ray. Visiting your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings is a key factor in preventing cavities and staying on top of good oral hygiene. You may also want to discuss with your dentist whether you should use supplemental fluoride to strengthen your teeth. The dental hygienist can give you tips for brushing and flossing so you will know that you are doing it correctly.​​


Have Sealants Placed

Visiting the dentist
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Dental sealants are a protective coating that is applied to the biting surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant protects the tooth from getting a cavity by shielding against bacteria and plaque.Sealants are more common in children because of the new growth of permanent teeth, however, sealants can benefit adults also.


Use a Mouthrinse

Using mouthwash
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There are several antimicrobial mouth rinses on the market that have been clinically proven to reduce plaque, such as Crest Pro Health. Rinsing with one of these mouth rinses after brushing or eating can aid in cavity prevention.


Chew (Sugarless) Gum

Chewing gum
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Believe it or not, chewing certain sugarless gums can actually help to prevent cavities by increasing the flow of saliva in your mouth. In 2007, the American Dental Association awarded their Seal of Acceptance to Wrigley's Orbit, Trident, and quip chewing gums for helping to prevent cavities. Look for the Seal of Acceptance on other sugar-free gum, including Bazooka Sugar-Free Bubble Gum. Now you have an excuse for blowing bubbles.

12 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Library of Medicine MedlinePlus. Tooth Decay.

  2. The Nemour Foundation/Kidshealth.org. Taking Care of Your Teeth.

  3. Sambunjak D, Nickerson JW, Pericic TP, et al. Flossing for the management of periodontal diseases and dental caries in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2019;(4). doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008829.pub3

  4. Badrasawi MMH, Hijjeh NH, Amer RS, Allan RM, Altamimi M. Nutrition awareness and oral health among dental patients in palestine: a cross-sectional study. International Journal of Dentistry. 2020;2020:e3472753. doi: 10.1155/20203472753

  5. Erdelyi RA, Duma VF, Dobre G, Bradu A, Podoleanu A. Investigations of dental cavities: between x-ray radiography and OCT. In: Kovačičinová J, ed. Optics and Measurement International Conference 2019. SPIE; 2019:19. doi: 10.1117/12.2542904

  6. Kanduti D, Sterbenk P, Artnik B. Fluoride: a review of use and effects on health. Mater Sociomed. 2016;28(2):133-137. doi: 10.5455/msm.2016.28.133-137

  7. Prathibha B, Reddy PP, Anjum MS, Monica M, Praveen BH. Sealants revisited: An efficacy battle between the two major types of sealants - A randomized controlled clinical trial. Dent Res J (Isfahan). 2019;16(1):36-41.

  8. Stewart B, Elias-Boneta A, Morrison M, Ahmed, RF. Efficacy of Total Mouthwash Compared to Pro-Health and a Placebo Mouthwash. J. & PILCH, S. (2014).

  9. American Dental Association. Orbit Sugarfree Gum.

  10. American Dental Association. Trident Sugarfree Gum.

  11. American Dental Association. quip Sugarfree Chewing Gum.

  12. American Dental Association. Bazooka Sugarfree Chewing Gum.

Additional Reading
  • Cavities. American Dental Association.

By Tammy Davenport
Tammy Davenport is a dental assistant with experience on the clinical and administrative side.