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In 2012, the World Health Organization reported that 60-90% of children and nearly 100% of adults have cavities. Severe gum disease was also found in 15-20% of middle-aged adults. Keeping your mouth healthy can be simple if preventative steps are taken. These five tips will help prevent cavities before they start:

1. Consider Dental Sealants
Dental sealants are a plastic coating placed on the back teeth, preventing bacteria from entering the tooth and developing a cavity. Since back teeth are used to chew food, the sealants are placed on the back teeth to seal off grooves that may collect food, plaque, and acid.

2. Decrease Sugar Intake
Limiting the amount of sugar you eat will help limit the number of potential cavities. Replacing sugar-dense food and drinks with whole foods and water prevents tooth decay and premature tooth loss.

3. Drink Tap Water
Most public water has fluoride in it, preventing cavities and tooth decay. Frequently drinking soda can cause acid build-up on the teeth, increasing chance of cavity development. Drinking soda through a straw can help prevent cavities if you don’t let the straw touch the teeth. The best defense against cavities comes from not drinking soda at all.

4. Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Visits to your family dentist for teeth cleanings and x-rays ever six months to one year helps prevent health problems that come from tooth decay and cavities. Regular dentist visits allow for proper oral care.

5. Eat More Cheese
Eating more cheese can lead to a decrease in cavities, according to scientific research. “Research has shown that calcium levels in the mouth increase after eating cheese,” said Shawn Frawley, DDS, a dentist in Beverly Hills, CA. “Teeth are partly made up of calcium, so increased saliva calcium levels helps re-mineralize teeth and prevent cavities from occurring.”