Last year I took my eight year-old for his first dental health check. Upon examination, the dentist spotted multiple cavities! He explained to my little one that a cavity is a hole in the tooth caused by decay of the tooth. If not taken care of, the decay will get worse and the hole will get bigger. When left untreated, excruciating pain could set in. Naturally, we did what was necessary to fix this cavity problem quickly. The dentist did a little drilling and filling, and patiently explained to my son on how to take care of his oral health. Since that visit, my son wanted to learn how to prevent cavities so that he can avoid future filling procedures. So, we did some research and found some answers. Here\u2019s what we learned about preventing cavities and some useful natural remedies that help. How Do We Get Cavities? First, let\u2019s understand how we get cavities. According to KidsHealth: Blame plaque. That's a sticky, slimy substance made up mostly of the germs that cause tooth decay. The bacteria in your mouth make acids and when plaque clings to your teeth, the acids can eat away at the outermost layer of the tooth, called the enamel. If you don't go to the dentist, the acids can continue to make their way through the enamel, and the inside parts of your tooth can begin to decay. If you've ever had a toothache or heard an adult complain about one, it may have been because there was a cavity that reached all the way inside a tooth, where the nerve endings are. This interactive infographic from Ask The Dentist is a very helpful visual to show us how cavities happen. Courtesy of Ask the Dentist.com Tips on Preventing Cavities These are the common ways of preventing the onset of cavities: Fluoride To Prevent Tooth Decay Fluoride is a mineral that is able to prevent and reverse early tooth decay. It helps to prevent and replace the loss of minerals in the enamel. It also reduces the ability of bacteria in producing acid. There are some mixed views on the use of fluoride in toothpaste. However, it is a component known to be effective in preventing tooth decay. Practise Good Dental Hygiene By Brushing Teeth Properly Instilling good dental care practice in children from a young age helps them from the start. It helps to have your dentist teach the kids on how to brush their teeth correctly. We often get the brushing motion wrong by brushing side to side whereas dentists always advise to brush in up and down and circular motions. So, the next time you bring your kids to the dentist, get a quick lesson from the good doctor. Can\u2019t go wrong with that. Avoid Sugary Foods Image Credit: Pexels As part of a good dental health, our teeth need to be remineralised. When sugar is present in our mouth all the time, this will prevent remineralisation to occur. This will eventually lead to poor oral hygiene. In any case, avoiding high sugar consumption is also good for our overall health. Natural Home Remedies To Avoid Tooth Decay Once cavities have set in, dental care is required. However, there are several home remedies that can help at the pre-cavity stage. Oil Pulling Oil pulling involves swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil in the mouth for a few minutes. Coconut oil has many benefits, and contains properties that can kill harmful bacteria in the mouth, thus lowering the chances of plaque forming. Salt Water Rinsing your mouth with salt water twice a day can help to treat cavities. Salt has antiseptic and antibacterial properties and can reduce inflammation, ease pain and prevent bacteria growth in the mouth. Mix a tablespoon of salt in warm water to dissolve it, then gargle your mouth with it. Baking Soda Image Credit: Pexels Using baking soda in your tooth cleansing routine has its pros and cons. It has an alkali property which will neutralise the acids in the mouth and help to prevent tooth decay. At the same time, it can also cause damage to the enamel in prolonged use. Therefore, we should only use baking soda to brush our teeth for a few days. To do this, dip a wet toothbrush into some baking soda and brush normally. Eggshells Image Credit: Pixabay Eggshells contain calcium carbonate, which is a form of calcium. It helps with tooth decay and refills minerals back in the enamel. Clean out the eggshells, then boil them. Let them dry out completely and grind the shells into powder. Add the eggshells powder with baking soda and coconut oil to use as a toothpaste. Good Oral Health Should Start From Young It goes without saying that we should instill good oral hygiene habits in our kids from a young age. Prevention is always better than cure. I don\u2019t know about you, but I am terrified of dental visits that end with painful dental procedures. I\u2019m sure our children will feel the same way. So, let\u2019s teach them the simple and effective ways of taking care of their oral health, to prevent cavities and other problems from arising. Everyone stands to benefit from having a good set of teeth, and flashing a big, wide smile to the world. And good dental care is the way to get there!