The Unfortunate Truth
Most people are probably not aware that tooth decay can begin within 20 minutes of eating, drinking, or snacking, but it’s an unfortunate truth. They also may not know that, while periodontal disease is the major cause of adult tooth loss, tooth decay is the major cause of childhood tooth loss. Our mouths are naturally rife with bacteria, but some oral bacteria are harmful to your teeth, especially when they come into contact with sugars and starches. Bacteria feed on sugars and starches and in the process secrete acids. The bacteria, acids, left-over food particles, and saliva form a sticky film called plaque. If not removed, plaque eats away at your teeth causing decay. If you knew this, would you put your child to bed with a bottle of sugary milk or juice? Probably not.
A Recipe for Disaster
Plaque is just that, a recipe for disaster. That is why we need to brush our teeth at least twice a day and floss daily to remove plaque that causes decay. If you skip a day of brushing, plaque begins to calcify (harden) into tartar in under 24 hours. Once it is a cement-like material it cannot be removed with a toothbrush and toothpaste, or floss. It can only be removed via a professional dental cleaning.
Dental caries, or tooth decay, affects 60 to 90 percent of school-aged children and a large majority of adults. It is considered an epidemic. How can you prevent your child from becoming a statistic?
Prevention is the Key
Preventive dentistry is the key to keeping your child’s smile healthy. This consists of both home care and regular visits to the dentist. At home the following are important:
- Brushing at least twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste
- Flossing daily
- Reducing the frequency and consumption of sugary foods, snacks, and drinks
- Drinking fluoridated water. Be aware that most bottled water does not contain cavity fighting fluoride
- Attending bi-annual dental checkups and cleanings
What we do to help:
- During your child’s bi-annual checkups and cleanings we provide a thorough examination that incudes annual X-rays.
- During their cleanings we remove plaque and tartar from their teeth and around their gumline to prevent decay.
- We clean and polish their teeth to help prevent plaque from sticking.
- We will floss their teeth and also provide a fluoride treatment to strengthen their teeth against caries.
- We can also apply a dental sealant to your child’s teeth as extra protection against cavities, if you choose.