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Updated on August 16, 2022

How to Prevent Cavities: Best Oral Care Products for Cavity Protection

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Best Oral Care Products for Cavity Protection

It's important to note that none of these oral care products are a miracle cure. They all have to be used consistently with the appropriate technique to lower your cavity risk.

toothbrush and mouthwash

Toothpaste

When it comes to preventing cavities, toothpaste can deliver powerful anti-cavity ingredients directly to the enamel.

These ingredients work to fight cavities by strengthening the enamel and underlying dentin. This works through a process called remineralization.3

Cavities develop through a process called demineralization. This process softens and weakens the enamel. Remineralizing agents reverse that process.3

There are three remineralizing ingredients that can be found in over-the-counter toothpaste:

  1. Fluoride – Fluoride has been around for decades. It's available in most over-the-counter toothpaste. Dentists often prescribe a high concentration fluoride toothpaste or gel for patients with a high cavity risk.4 
  2. Nanohydroxyapatite – This compound is often abbreviated as nHa. It's the same mineral compound that makes up the majority of the hard structure of teeth. The nano-sized particles absorb into weakened areas of enamel and repair acid damage.5
  3. Arginine – This ingredient is a naturally occurring amino acid. It has the potential to remineralize enamel.6 It's more difficult to find toothpaste containing arginine.

Floss

Floss doesn't contain a specific ingredient that prevents cavities. However, using floss daily helps prevent plaque buildup between teeth that can lead to decay.

You should choose floss that meets your specific needs. Some people need thick floss to clean large spaces between their teeth. Others need slick floss that will easily go between tightly crowded teeth.

If physical impairments make flossing impossible, you should consider an alternative like:

  • Interdental brushes
  • Floss picks
  • Water flossers (Waterpik)

Mouthwash

Mouthwash helps loosen dental plaque, kill bacteria, and freshen breath.

The only remineralizing ingredient available in over-the-counter mouthwash is fluoride.

If you use a fluoride mouth rinse to fight cavities, you should use it after brushing and flossing. This is because you want the fluoride to stay on your teeth as long as possible.

PhosFlur by Colgate is a highly recommended over-the-counter mouthwash for cavity prevention. The product used to be available by prescription only. However, it's now sold in most pharmacies and grocery stores.

Other Products Used to Fight Cavities

There are more tools you can use to keep your teeth clean and fight cavities:

Electric Toothbrushes

Using an electric toothbrush helps clean hard-to-reach places when brushing your teeth.

You should find one that fits in your mouth comfortably. This makes it easier to brush away bacteria and prevent cavities.

You should replace your brush head every 3 months. If the bristles fray before then, change it.

Between-the-Teeth Cleaners

Some people have gaps between their teeth. These spaces are likely to collect larger amounts of plaque and food debris throughout the day.

You can reduce your risk of cavities in these areas by cleaning them as needed during the day rather than waiting until nighttime.

The simplest way to do this is by carrying small interdental brushes. For example, GUM Soft-Picks. This allows you to remove food debris quickly.

Chewing Gum

Chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva. Saliva is an excellent cavity fighter.

The gum should be sugar-free so that you are not feeding cavity-causing bacteria.

The best chewing gum for fighting cavities is one containing the sweetener Xylitol. This is a plant-based sugar substitute that kills bacteria in the mouth.

Teeth Whitening

The active ingredient in teeth whitening gel is carbamide or hydrogen peroxide. These ingredients kill the bacteria that cause cavities.

Some people may be able to reduce their risk for cavities by wearing custom-fitted whitening trays with a 10 percent carbamide peroxide gel overnight.

Toothpaste Tablets

Toothpaste tablets are an alternative to using tubes of toothpaste.

One of the best features of toothpaste tablets is that they prevent cross-contamination.

Toothpaste tablets are also easy to use. They work like regular toothpaste and help prevent cavities.

Simply chew on the tablets and they will begin to foam. Then, brush as usual.

Look for toothpaste tablets with hydrated silica. This is an active ingredient that gives the tabs a mild abrasiveness to remove stains effectively.

What’s the Takeaway?

Almost every cavity is preventable. Using the right products correctly can significantly lower your risk for tooth decay.

6 Sources Cited
Last updated on August 16, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Horst, Jeremy A et al. “Fluorides and Other Preventive Strategies for Tooth Decay.” Dental clinics of North America vol. 62,2 : 207-234
  2. InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Tooth decay: Overview. [Updated 2020 Feb 27]
  3. Abou Neel, Ensanya Ali et al. “Demineralization-remineralization dynamics in teeth and bone.” International journal of nanomedicine vol. 11 4743-4763. 19 Sep. 2016
  4. Aoun, Antoine et al. “The Fluoride Debate: The Pros and Cons of Fluoridation.” Preventive nutrition and food science vol. 23,3 : 171-180
  5. Pepla, Erlind et al. “Nano-hydroxyapatite and its applications in preventive, restorative and regenerative dentistry: a review of literature.” Annali di stomatologia vol. 5,3 108-14. 20 Nov. 2014
  6. Nascimento, M M. “Potential Uses of Arginine in Dentistry.” Advances in dental research vol. 29,1 : 98-103
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