How We Help Keep Kids Cavity-Free
Our team knows that kids are susceptible to cavities, especially during the sugar-drenched holiday season. Which is why we offer treatments to not only address cavities that form, but also help kids avoid them entirely! In today’s blog, your Dallas, TX, pediatric dentist talks about keeping kids cavity-free with preventive dental care. We’re also going to discuss good oral hygiene habits during the holiday season, so you and your whole family can keep your smiles bright and healthy, and free of painful tooth decay too.
The Factors Behind Childhood Cavities
How does a child develop a cavity in a tooth? Each tooth is coated in enamel, the hardest substance in the human body. This protects the tooth from harmful bacteria. But if kids consume lots of sugar and starch, and don’t brush and floss properly this allows harmful oral bacteria to consume sugar and starch, which weakens and erodes outer enamel to make cavities possible. The cavity then grows and spreads until treated, increasing the risk of infection and even premature tooth loss. Even if the decay occurs in a baby tooth, treatment is still needed as months or even years could elapse between the formation of a cavity and when the tooth would fall out on its own. When your child complains about a toothache, let us know right away! We will conduct an examination to see if your little one needs treatment for tooth decay, or if action is needed to help protect the smile.
One way we help protect smiles from cavities is with dental sealants. Children often have a hard time reaching the rear teeth when they brush and floss, which allows food and drink particles to remain there for bacteria to consume. The result is a higher risk of cavities, even if they’re caring for their smiles! But with dental sealants, we clean these teeth and apply a plastic coating that prevents food and drink particles from adhering to them. The layers can stay in place for up to ten years, and application only takes seconds. Kids then need to avoid food and drink for about 30 minutes as the material cures. If needed, we can re-apply in the future and removal isn’t necessary, as they wear away with time gradually.
Additional Help With Fluoride
Our team could also help with the application of fluoride varnish. We apply these to the teeth during a checkup visit, and the process takes seconds and again, kids just need to hold off on food and drink for about 30 minutes as it cures. The fluoride then strengthens the enamel, specifically the weakened portions that are more likely to develop cavities. Fluoride is so helpful we also recommend using toothpaste with this ingredient. Look for it on the packaging, or the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance. Kids three and under need a rice sized amount of toothpaste, while kids three and older need a pea sized blot.
While brushing and flossing are helpful for smiles of all ages, they also need a dental cleaning every six months starting at age two. The cleaning enables our team to gently but thoroughly remove all plaque and tartar from the teeth with an ultrasonic scaling device and a manual tooth. The process helps protect the teeth from enamel erosion and cavities, and also limits the risk of bad breath, teeth stains, and even gingivitis in older children.
Better Home Habits
Be sure you practice good oral hygiene habits at home too! You should make sure your kids brush and floss daily. Try to lower their consumption of sugary foods and drinks, which we know is hard during the holidays, but this helps lower the risk of cavities. Encourage them to drink plenty of water, and be sure to maintain six-month appointments for a checkup and cleaning twice each year. If you haven’t seen us lately, schedule a visit now to use your 2023 dental benefits or health savings accounts before they expire on December 31st. We can help your kids enjoy the holiday season and their family get-togethers with bright and healthy smiles. If you have any questions about providing good oral hygiene for smiles of all ages, or if you would like to schedule a visit, then please reach out to our team today to learn more.
Schedule Your Child’s Preventive Appointment Today
We’re ready to help your children enjoy good oral health and lower their risk of tooth decay during and after the holidays! Every child deserves a healthy and bright smile, and we want to make that possible for your little one. To learn more, please contact your Dallas, TX pediatric dentist, Dr. Marr, by calling (214) 321-4880.
filed under: Children's Dental Services