Your teeth are important. You use them to chew your food, smile, and talk, and they're the only teeth you'll ever have. That's why it's crucial that you keep them healthy. Here are four ways you can prevent cavities:

1. Have your teeth professionally cleaned.

Visit your dentist for oral checkups twice a year. During these visits, a dental hygienist will give your teeth a professional cleaning. They'll use a metal pick to scale your teeth, which means scraping hardened plaque called tartar off your teeth. They'll also polish your teeth using a special abrasive cleaner and floss between your teeth. It's important to brush and floss your own teeth every day, but a professional cleaning can act as a kind of reset, giving you spotless teeth for you to maintain.

2. Get x-rays taken once a year.

While you should visit your dentist every six months, you only need to get x-rays taken once a year. Your dentist will use an x-ray machine to get a picture of all your teeth. The x-ray will show your dentist any cavities that can't be seen with the naked eye, so you can get them treated. Prompt treatment of cavities can prevent worse problems down the line, including root canals and tooth abscesses.

3. Get dental sealants.

If you're particularly prone to cavities, you may feel like nothing you do is effective enough. However, there are other preventative treatments you can look into. Dental sealants are made from a clear plastic coating that is painted onto your molars. It encases your teeth, protecting your tooth enamel from plaque that can cause cavities. Dental sealants provide an additional layer of protection for your teeth. According to the American Dental Association, dental sealants can reduce your risk of cavities by up to 80%.

4. Limit certain foods.

Protecting your teeth from cavities also means watching what you eat. Certain foods are damaging and can promote plaque development. Sugar is particularly bad for your teeth, but you should also avoid acidic foods that can eat away at your tooth enamel. It's okay to indulge in these foods sometimes, but try to limit your consumption. After you eat candy or drink soda, brush your teeth if possible. If that's not an option, you should at least rinse your mouth. Eating a sugary snack in one sitting is also better for your teeth than snacking throughout the day.

Contact a business like Pacific Ave Dental/Allan L. Hablutzel, DDS for more information.