Cavity Free For 20 Years? Original Image Courtesy

Cavity Free For 20 Years?
Original Image Courtesy

It’s More Than Possible To Stop Having A New Cavity Every Year

In fact I can show you how to be cavity free for 20 years or more. I’ve been cavity free for well over 40 years. That’s right 40 years, but I did not start out well. I first remember going to a children’s dentist when I was about four years old. That’s when my cavities started. I don’t remember it as being terribly unpleasant, but I don’t remember it being wonderful either. I was sort of neutral on the issue.

My sister, however did not have the same experience. She remembers the dentist yelling at her, when during treatment, she was trying to spit into a silly little sink, and she missed. She’s an adult now, but whenever she goes to see a dentist, she feels again the same way she did when she was five years old. Her experience is not that unusual. A lot of us remember exactly what was like when we were kids, especially if our early experiences were unpleasant.

I had a friend Wes, in dental school, who’d never had a cavity. I told Wes he couldn’t relate to his patients since he’d never gone through any of the treatment that many of us go through. He wasn’t willing to volunteer, in spite of my best efforts, to have a couple of fillings just so he could better relate to his patients. Imagine that.

Take Care Of Cavities Early

In third grade I had to ride my bicycle about 3 miles to see the dentist my parents saw. They switched me to their dentist when I was about eight years. I liked him a lot better than the children’s dentist.  I thought my folks were holding out on me. Their dentist was a lot better.

So from four years old to 16 years old it seemed like every year I had a cavity or two and had to have new fillings placed. The only thing available then was mercury-based fillings. They called them “silver” fillings back then, but that’s a misnomer, because they are more than 50% mercury. Only later on did I find out how hazardous they were. I had lots of fillings as a child and can relate to the frustration my patients experience with my cavities starting at an early age.


Start Good Home Care Efforts Earlier Than I Did

At fifteen years old I remember Dr. Winter’s hygienist asking me how I took care of my teeth. She told me about dental floss and recommended chewing sugarless gum after meals. Sugarless gum was added to my lunchtime routine at school, even though it was against the rules. Those were two novel ideas for me, but at age 15 I finally started to take some responsibility for caring for my own teeth. Up until then I only remember using dental floss after a meal with corn-on-the-cob. It was great to remove the corn that got stuck in lots of places. Then subsequent dental visits paid off with no new cavities. Maybe there was something to this home care stuff.

You can make all the difference in the world with your current situation and your family’s too.  It can save you a a small fortune over a lifetime and greatly improve your health.

My Diabetic Dad Avoided Sugar

Did I mention my father was a diabetic? I will always remember him having to give himself shots of insulin every day, twice a day. Two in the morning and one at night. He would ask me or my mom to inject the insulin in his arms when his legs got too sore.

Since he was a diabetic we did not have dessert every night with dinner. In fact if we had a desert, it was once every week or two. We did not have snacks around the house and the use of sugar was frowned upon. My dad was on sugar restriction so it was only around the holidays when my mom would bake cookies or pies. We also did not buy packaged cookies, snacks or sodas. I didn’t realize it but that probably protected me from lots of unnecessary cavities.

Those habits have continued to this day. I brush my teeth, I clean between them, I avoid sugar, and eat very little snack food. And I occasionally chew sugarless gum after meals.  I made a major improvement in my home care and it has paid off for 40 plus years. But not everyone chooses to do what I did.

Perfection To Disaster In Three Years

I remember a young man who was doing quite well in life and then his world was turned upside down.  His father was killed in a tragic automobile accident on a wintery Utah day.  He was coming home after working for six months on the Alaska pipeline. They thought he fell asleep at the wheel after working long hours. It resulted in a disruptive change in his son’s emotional behavior that had disastrous dental consequences. At fifteen years old, he just stopped taking care of himself. I remember the toll it took on me when my dad died of diabetes complications when I was 20.

Up to that time he was a “regular” in our office. He had orthodontics giving him an outstanding smile. He was maintaining his dental health and was cavity free. Then it all changed for him.

A Girlfriend To The Rescue

A girlfriend eventually encouraged him to come back in. But, in a little less than three years, his dental situation had taken a nose dive. He stopped taking good care of himself. He stopped brushing his teeth. He stopped flossing. He stopped his regular dental visits and he started drinking sodas throughout the day. He admitted to regularly drinking  3-20 ounce Mountain Dew soda or more every day along with lots of junk food. But, in a little less than three years, his dental situation had taken a nose dive.

When he resurfaced in my office, he said his life and his focus were getting better, but his dental situation had unfortunately taken a serious turn for the worse.  He was following an excellent path but went off the rails for a period of time causing deterioration and unnecessary expense. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.  Yes, it could still be restored but with considerable expense.

If you, or a loved one have had an event that is disruptive, go back to the basics as soon as possible. Encourage returning to structure and a healthy schedule.

If You Are Squeamish Do Not Look At The Image Below

And Remove Children From The Room-

I Warned You


Actual patient image is seen below.

Image of Decay Caused By Sodas

Perfection To Disaster In Three Years With Sodas
Courtesy of
Craig Sommer DDS at


How To Be Cavity Free For 20 Years-Take Home Lesson

Stick with the basics.
Avoid sugar like the plague.
Perform effective tooth brushing.
Perform effective effective flossing.
Do not eat sweets or desserts regularly.
Do not drink carbonated beverages, diet or regular.
Remember sugar is one of the enemies of good health.