Five surprising ways you can help prevent tooth decay

By April 20, 2015 August 26th, 2015 Dr. Derek Fine, tooth decay

Tooth decay is one of the most significant dental challenges we face as individuals and as a society. With diet, lifestyle and our overall health all being contributing factors, we all need to do everything we can to prevent tooth decay.

The traditional advice from your dentist has always been to watch what you eat, manage your intake of sugary foods and soda, brush twice a day, floss once a day and to visit your dentist regularly. While that advice hasn’t changed, we also have a few surprising allies in our fight to prevent tooth decay.


There is increasing evidence that indicated eating cheese after a meal can help prevent tooth decay. It contains a protein called casein that helps promote healthy teeth by increasing calcium levels within the mouth. This calcium is thought to re-mineralize the mouth, helping the teeth. Cheese also alters the pH level in the mouth, which helps reduce acid erosion.

Chewing gum

Chewing gum is probably the least surprising here as we have often discussed the benefits of gum with our patients. Using sugar-free gum that contains xylitol is a very effective way to prevent tooth decay. Not only does the act of chewing shake food loose from gaps in teeth, it helps produce saliva, our natural defense against decay. Finally, xylitol cannot be metabolized by mouth bacteria, so they cannot use it as fuel.


Didn’t we just say that candy is bad for you when consumed in excess? Well, candy that utilizes xylitol instead of sugar can actually help prevent tooth decay. In the same way chewing gum helps produce saliva which helps lower the pH of the mouth and reduce decay, replacing standard sugar candy with sugar-free candy is a great way to still have a treat without the dental costs associated with it.


Using a straw when you have some soda or sugary drink may also help prevent tooth decay. If you absolutely have to have a soda, using a straw may help reduce the exposure your teeth have to the sugars. While we would advise caution and moderation when drinking any sugary drink, every little tip may help!

Green tea

Drinking green tea has long been associated with a number of health benefits including your mouth. New research is emerging that compounds within green tea actively help fight tooth decay and prevent cavities. Green tea controls bacteria that lives in the mouth and lowers the pH level preventing acid erosion. It is also a natural anti-inflammatory which may help gum health. It’s also a viable alternative to sugary drinks, which is a definite benefit!

If you live in Denville, Dover, Morristown, Morris Plains, Mountain Lakes, Randolph, Rockaway and have questions about dental cosmetic dentistry contact Aesthetic Family Dentistry, we can help!

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