Cavities are those pesky, little things that we just wish would disappear. They tend to come out of nowhere, sneaking up on us when we decide to conduct a deep-sea discovery in our mouth and take a look to see what’s in there.

Cavities are annoying, sometimes painful, and time-consuming. Plus, the only way to fix them is a visit to the dentist’s office.

If you do get a cavity, it’s important you don’t ignore it and get it fixed promptly. If left unattended to, your small cavity will grow, making a larger hole in your tooth. If you don’t treat it, you run the risk of damaging the good part of your tooth, which is hard to fix with a traditional crown. When your cavity reaches the pulp chamber, the pulp can become infected, possibly causing an abscess and a lot of pain.

Related: The Truth About Cavities

Easy Ways to Prevent Cavities

If you don’t feel like dealing with all the stuff mentioned above, there are simple ways to combat cavity development. Below are some tips to help you with your cavity struggle.

1. Use Fluoride: Fluoride is a cavity preventing mineral that can prevent tooth decay from getting too bad. It reduces the ability of bacteria to make acid, it prevents mineral loss in your tooth enamels, and it replaces lost minerals in your teeth. To increase your intake of fluoride, you can drink water rich with the mineral or you can make the switch to a fluoride based toothpaste. Additionally, you can also get your hands on some fluoride tablets or use a fluoride mouthwash.

2. Consider Dental Sealants: Never heard of these? Well, now is as good a time as any to learn. Sealants are a great way to prevent cavities. They are plastic, thin coatings that the dentist paints onto your molars or the chewing surfaces of your back teeth. Sealants are put onto the chewing surfaces because the back parts of your teeth are riddled with uneven grooves and small pits. Therefore, it’s extremely easy for food to get stuck there. Because of the unevenness, it’s hard to get these particles out again since toothbrush bristles can’t easily reach them. However, sealants cover these uneven surfaces and provide a barrier that protects your teeth.

3. Brush Regularly: This is the easiest action you can take to prevent cavities from taking over your mouth. It’s recommended that you brush at least twice a day, especially before you go to bed. Letting bacteria sit on your teeth overnight can allow acid to form, which helps cavities grow. If you really want to keep a nice, healthy smile, you can brush after every snack too. When you brush, the ideal time should be for three minutes. Don’t scrub your teeth, though. Brush gently from the gums to the tips of your teeth. Don’t have a toothbrush handy? You can thoroughly rinse your mouth with water to do the trick.

4. Eat Healthy: This one is easier said than done. Many people are tempted by delicious treats and foods that are high in sugar. When consumed and not brushed off your teeth, these sugars just sit there, eating away at your teeth and forming cavities. Changing your diet to exclude sugar rich foods will do wonders for improving the health of your teeth.

5. Quit Smoking: Besides causing horrible cancers in our mouth, smoking also increases the risks of cavities. When you smoke, you’re actively putting noxious chemicals into your mouth. Bacteria sticks to those substances and then starts to create acid, which contributes to cavities.

Cavities are fully preventable. All it takes is a little work and determination. If you brush regularly, use fluoride, eat healthy, and quit smoking (if you smoke in the first place), your cavity situation will improve dramatically. You can also get dental sealants to help your cavity war.