How To Prevent Childhood Cavities
Now that Halloween is over, your kids likely have a ton of sugary sweets sitting around. Which means their risk of developing tooth decay could be elevated! In today’s blog, your Dallas, TX, pediatric dentist talks about what you can do, and what treatments we offer, to help prevent cavities in little smiles.
Halloween Candy and Cavities
When children consume lots of candy with sugar, this leaves behind particles trapped on or between the teeth, especially if they’re eating stocky and chewy options. Harmful oral bacteria will then break down and consume these particles, in the process elevating oral acidity and coating the teeth in a sticky layer of plaque and tartar. The buildup could increase the risk of tooth decay, gingivitis, and even bad breath and teeth stains. You can help by limiting how much candy your children eat in a day, encouraging them to bring water after they eat their sweets to help rinse away sugar, and by making sure they brush and floss. Some parents even buy candy for their little ones, offering them money or a chance to trade their sweets in for a toy or other prize. Our team can offer treatment to help protect their smiles following Halloween and throughout the holiday season, which is also rife with sugar!
Every six months, we want to see your child for a dental exam, so we can take a close look at their smiles for signs of trouble and if needed, administer treatment. This can be a chance to catch tooth decay in the earliest stages, before your little one develops a painful toothache or persistent tooth sensitivity. In the same visit we also clean the teeth. The dental cleaning process involves removing all plaque and tartar from the teeth with an ultrasonic scaling device and a manual tool. The process helps lower the risk of cavities and other issues associated with plaque buildup. We then clean the teeth to make it harder for plaque and tartar to adhere to the surfaces before the next cleaning appointment.
In the same visit as your child’s checkup, our team can administer a unique treatment to strengthen enamel, even the portions weakened by plaque and poor oral hygiene. Fluoride treatment involves applying a special varnish to the teeth, which cures quickly. Children then avoid food and drink for about 30 minutes. The varnish then strengthens the outer enamel to keep tooth decay at bay. This is why kids should also use a fluoride toothpaste, with those three and younger using a rice sized amount, and kids over the age of three using a pea sized amount. Your community’s tap water likely has fluoride too, so drinking water can also strengthen little smiles.
Children may have trouble reaching the rear teeth when they brush and floss, which leaves the molars vulnerable to tooth decay. Particles of sugar can become trapped between them and consumed by bacteria, which creates plaque and weakens enamel to cause cavities. But with dental sealants, we coat these rear teeth in a special plastic coating, which prevents particles of food and drink from being stuck between them. The application takes minutes and kids have to avoid food and drink for about 30 minutes while the layers cure fully. They can stay in place for up to ten years, and wear away gradually with time, clinging the longest to the more vulnerable portions of your teeth. We can re-apply as needed in the years to come!
Brushing and Flossing
Taking care of the teeth at home in between your child’s checkup and cleaning visits is crucial too. Kids need to brush in the morning and at night for two minutes. For babies and toddlers, they may need your assistance. For older kids, you can monitor them to ensure they’re cleaning their teeth properly for the right amount of time. Kids also need to floss in the evening once there are teeth sitting next to one another, as a toothbrush alone cannot remove what is caught between the teeth. You can let them pick out their own toothbrushes with their favorite characters on them, and time them with a sand timer, song, or a fun video.
If you have any questions about how to fight cavities and keep your children’s smiles healthy and cavity-free, then contact our team today to learn more.
Speak With Your Dallas, TX, Pediatric Dentist About Fighting Cavities
If you would like to help your children avoid the onset of tooth decay, then we invite you to contact your Dallas, TX pediatric dentist, Dr. Marr, by calling (214) 321-4880.
filed under: Children's Dental Services