Simple Actions That Prevent Cavities In Little Smiles

dallas cavity prevention

Cavities can impact babies, toddlers, and kids of all ages, which is why care to prevent tooth decay is so important. Cavities can lead to pain in the tooth, and the risk of infection and even tooth loss! In today’s blog, your Dallas, TX, pediatric dentist talks about how to help lower the risk of cavities at home and in our office.

The Causes and Risks of Tooth Decay

First, let’s talk about the causes of tooth decay. Cavities form when harmful oral bacteria come into contact with the dentin, the sensitive structure that makes up most of a tooth. This happens when the outer enamel is no longer able to protect the teeth. Various factors could weaken the enamel, including plaque and tartar buildup, which weakens and erodes it. Injury to the teeth or teeth grinding could be a factor too. Poor brushing and flossing habits, and a diet high in sugar and starch, are also common factors behind decay in little smiles. For babies and toddlers, falling asleep or napping with a bottle of milk or juice could increase the risk of cavities too. Without treatment, the decay could become an infection that leads to premature tooth loss and a higher risk of misalignment, which is why cavities need treatment even in baby teeth destined to fall out eventually.

Prevention at Home

At home, you can help your kids enjoy a reduced risk of tooth decay with good brushing and flossing habits. For babies, you can use cloth or a toothbrush that fits over your finer. For toddlers, you can purchase age-appropriate toothbrushes. You can assist very young children, and monitor older ones to ensure everyone is cleaning their teeth in the morning and at night for two minutes. You can time them with a fun song or video!

Be sure your kids use a fluoride toothpaste, as this strengthens the enamel to prevent cavities. Kids three and younger should use a rice-sized amount, and kids older than three should use a pea-sized amount. Flossing is also essential, as this removes what a toothbrush cannot reach. As soon as there are teeth sitting next to one another, flossing every evening before brushing the second time is essential. Younger kids can use a floss pick and upgrade to floss tape or string as their dexterity improves.

Checkups and Cleanings

You should bring your children in for a checkup visit every six months once they turn two. The exam is a chance to watch for the earliest signs of tooth decay, so we can offer fillings before the tooth becomes infected and requires a pulpotomy. We also talk to your children about their oral health habits and help instill information to ensure they properly care for their smiles in childhood and adulthood too. During the same visit, we will clean the teeth. A dental cleaning means we remove all plaque and tartar from the surfaces of the smile, which helps fight cavities, bad breath, and teeth stains.

Fluoride Treatments

As part of your child’s six-month checkup, we can offer fluoride in a varnish form, applying it directly to the teeth in a matter of seconds. Kids just need to avoid food and drink for about 30 minutes as the material cures. This helps strengthen the outer enamel and reduces the risk of cavities forming.

Dental Sealants

For many kids, reaching the rear teeth when brushing and flossing is difficult, and could mean that particles of sugar and starch remain trapped there, leading to tooth decay. But with dental sealants, we apply a prosthetic layer over these teeth in the form of an acrylic material. This means food and drink particles cannot be trapped there, reducing the risk of tooth decay. The sealants can stay in place for up to ten years, and wear away gradually with time. We can always reapply as needed. The process only takes a few seconds to complete, and again kids need to avoid food and drink for about 30 minutes.

If you have any questions about how to prevent a cavity in your child’s smile, or if you need to schedule their summer checkup and cleaning, then contact our team today to get started.

Do You Have Questions About Preventive Dentistry?

We want to help your children enjoy strong and healthy smiles, free of discomfort and the risk of premature too loss. To learn more about how our team will help kids avoid tooth decay, then please contact your Dallas, TX pediatric dentist, Dr. Marr, by calling (214) 321-4880.


filed under: Preventive Treatments