Tooth decay (which causes cavities) is the most common chronic disease in children and adults.1 The good news —it’s preventable!

Here are some ways to prevent cavities and tooth decay.

Get your fluoride

Known as “nature’s cavity fighter,” fluoride prevents cavities by making tooth enamel more resistant to tooth decay. Some easy ways to get fluoride include:2

  • Drinking water – Fluoride is naturally found in nearly all water sources, and almost 75% of public water systems have fluoride added to the water supply.
  • Using toothpaste and mouthwash with added fluoride – Look for the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance to make sure the toothpaste or mouthwash you choose has added fluoride.

Brush your teeth for 2 minutes, 2 times a day

The ADA recommends the 2/2 rule: brush for 2 minutes in the morning and 2 minutes at night with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.3 For more details, check out how long to brush your teeth.

Clean between your teeth daily

The ADA also recommends cleaning between your teeth daily with an interdental cleaner like a dental pick, water flosser or dental floss.4 Cleaning between your teeth helps remove plaque, which can eat away at tooth enamel and cause cavities.5 For more good reasons to floss, explore these benefits of flossing your teeth.

Use mouthwash

Like dental floss, mouthwash can clean areas between teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach. For overall mouth protection, choose ADA-approved mouthwashes that kill bacteria and prevent or reduce plaque, tooth decay and gum disease.6

Eat healthy

Good nutrition plays a big role in preventing cavities and tooth decay. Most people know to stay away from sugary foods and drinks, but did you know some foods are especially good for dental health? Add these foods that help prevent cavities to your shopping list before your next grocery run.

Visit your dentist regularly

According to the ADA, there is no “one size fits all” recommendation for dentist visits. Some people need to go 1–2 times a year, other people need to go more. It all depends on your unique needs and what your dentist thinks is best for you.7

Humana can help with cavities and tooth decay

If you have a cavity or tooth decay, Humana can help. We offer a broad range of dental plans with varying levels of coverage, many with low monthly premiums. Some of our plans also feature no waiting periods, which means you could get covered in about 5 days. To see plans and prices in your area, check out our Humana Insurance Company dental insurance page.

Sources

  1. “Dental Caries (Tooth Decay),” National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, last accessed December 10, 2020, https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/research/data-statistics/dental-caries, opens new window.
  2. “Fluoride,” American Dental Association, last accessed December 10, 2020, https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/f/fluoride, opens new window.
  3. “Brushing Your Teeth,” American Dental Association, last accessed December 10, 2020, https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/brushing-your-teeth, opens new window.
  4. “Flossing,” American Dental Association, last accessed December 10, 2020, https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/f/flossing, opens new window.
  5. “Flossing.”
  6. “Mouthwash,” American Dental Association, last accessed December 10, 2020, https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/m/mouthwash, opens new window.
  7. “Your Top 9 Questions About Going to the Dentist—Answered,” American Dental Association, last accessed December 10, 2020, https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/dental-care-concerns/questions-about-going-to-the-dentist, opens new window.