Dental Health Print 7 Ways to Prevent Cavities By Tammy Davenport Updated July 15, 2019 More in Dental Health Procedures & Treatments Orthodontics Cosmetic Dentistry Pediatric Dentistry Dental Conditions 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 byproducts is acid. The sticky plaque holds this acid against your teeth where it attacks your tooth enamel, leading to cavities. 1 Brush Your Teeth JGI/Tom Gril/Getty Images 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. 2 Floss or Clean Between Your Teeth Daily Dylan Ellis/Getty Images 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. 3 Eat Healthy Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images 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. 4 Visit Your Dentist and Dental Hygienist M_a_y_a/Getty Images 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 5 Have Sealants Placed Emir Memedovsk/Getty Images 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. 6 Use a Mouthrinse Lea Paterson/Getty Images There are several antimicrobial mouth rinses on the market that have been clinically proven to reduce plaque, such as Listerine or Crest Pro Health. Rinsing with one of these mouth rinses after brushing or eating can aid in cavity prevention. 7 Chew (Sugarless) Gum Hero Images/Getty Images 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, Eclipse, and Extra 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. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Sign up for our Health Tip of the Day newsletter, and receive daily tips that will help you live your healthiest life. Email Address Sign Up There was an error. Please try again. Thank you, , for signing up. What are your concerns? Other Inaccurate Hard to Understand Submit Article Sources Cavities. American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/c/cavities.