How To Prevent Tooth Decay In A Child’s Smile

dallas preventing cavities

We want to help kids avoid common issues like tooth decay, so they stay clear of toothaches and the risk of premature tooth loss. Both at home and in our office, there are actions you and your children can take to keep cavities away. In today’s blog, your Dallas, TX, pediatric dentist talks about how to prevent tooth decay in your child’s smile, so they can enjoy good oral health and teeth that shine!

What Causes a Cavity?

How does a cavity form in your child’s smile? Protecting their teeth is a thin layer of enamel, the hardest substance in the human body. The enamel protects the inner dentin and pulp from exposure to bacteria, so your little one’s teeth stay healthy and strong. But when the enamel has been weakened and eroded, this can expose the dentin and allow a cavity to form. The exposure could happen due to factors that create plaque and tartar buildup. This could include poor brushing and flossing habits and a diet high in sugar and starch. Injury to the teeth or teeth grinding could also compromise the outer enamel. When the cavity forms, it will grow in severity unless treated. Your little one could experience tooth sensitivity or toothaches, and at this point care is crucial for avoiding the onset of a dental infection, which could threaten smile stability!

Prevention at Home

Good oral hygiene habits at home can help protect kids from the onset of cavities, as this helps limit the amount of sugar and starch in the diet, and removes particles that could feed harmful bacteria and cause plaque buildup. Kids need to brush in the morning and at night for two minutes. Kids three and younger need a rice sized amount of fluoride toothpaste, and older kids need a pea sized amount. Children also need to floss once there are teeth sitting next to one another. You can monitor your kids and time them to ensure proper cleaning. Try to offer healthier snack and drink options, limiting how much sugar and starch they consume. These actions can help protect their smiles from cavities!

Cleaning Their Teeth

To remove the harmful layers of plaque and tartar completely, our team recommends kids have a dental cleaning every six months starting at around age two. With the cleaning process, we will gently and thoroughly remove all plaque and tartar from the teeth with an ultrasonic scaling device and a manual pick. The process only takes a few minutes, and we then polish the teeth to limit how much plaque and tartar can accumulate before the next visit, and to also brighten the teeth.

Fluoride Treatments

Our team can also offer preventive treatments designed specifically to limit the risk of cavities. For example, we can apply fluoride to the teeth during each checkup and cleaning visit. Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that has been shown to strengthen enamel and reduce the risk of tooth decay. We apply this in seconds and kids just need to avoid food and drink for about a half hour. The fluoride then fortifies the enamel, including portions that have been weakened. This is the same reason we recommend kids using a small amount of fluoride toothpaste when they brush each day!

Dental Sealants

Even if kids brush and floss daily, they often have a hard time reaching the rear teeth, so food and drink particles can become trapped between these molars. As a result, the risk of tooth decay in this portion of the smile is much higher. But! We can help with dental sealants. Our team will clean the teeth and then apply an acrylic layer to them. The dental sealants coat the teeth and prevent food and drink particles from becoming trapped in the hard-to-reach portions of the smile. Application takes a few seconds and kids just need to avoid food and drink for about 30 minutes. The sealants can stay in place for up to ten years and as they wear away, they tend to cling the longest to the more vulnerable portions of the teeth. We can also reapply them as needed!

If you have any questions about how to prevent cavities in little smiles with care at home and in our office, then contact our team today. We look forward to seeing your child at his or her next appointments!

Do You Have Questions About Fighting Cavities in Little Smiles?

We want to help your child’s smile stay healthy and strong, and free of tooth decay, throughout their childhood. To learn more about our tips for avoiding tooth decay in your little one’s smile, then please contact your Dallas, TX pediatric dentist, Dr. Marr, by calling (214) 321-4880.


filed under: Preventive Treatments