Cavity Prevention

Childhood Cavities: What Causes them and How to Stop them

January 11th, 2018

Dental Caries, or cavities, are the most prevalent and preventable disease afflicting children in the United States today. Most people know that to keep cavities away it takes diligent brushing, and a mouth-healthy diet. But, cavities can form from more obscure circumstances that are often easily avoided.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is caused by a lack of saliva, which helps prevent tooth decay and cavities by keeping teeth clean of food debris. Saliva also combats the acid produced by bad bacteria. You can help your child avoid dry mouth by having them drink enough water every day – around 64 ounces per day, or 8 large glasses.

Sticky Foods

Sticky foods stay on teeth long after they are enjoyed as a meal or snack. Food like bread, sticky granola bars, chips, or gummy snacks will expose teeth to sugar for longer periods of time, and cause a sustained acid attack on tooth enamel. After tooth enamel has eroded, teeth become much more susceptible to decay and cavities.

If your child enjoys sticky foods, have them rinse their mouth out with cool clean water after a meal to remove any excess food debris. Or, advise them to brush their teeth to remove the sticky food debris.

Back Teeth

Tooth location actually plays a large role in where a cavity could occur. Molars and premolars (located in the back of the mouth) have a lot of grooves, pits and crannies that can collect food debris, and cause cavities.

To combat this, make sure that your child thoroughly brushes their back teeth when brushing, and doesn’t skip out on flossing teeth in the back of their mouth.

Infant Bedtime Bottle

It’s quite common for parents of infants and toddlers to give their child a bottle at bedtime. But, this is a mistake that can lead to early childhood carries – which are cavities in very young children. This occurs because milk and formula is high in sugar, and when sugar is left in the mouth without being rinsed, it can feed bad bacteria that causes cavities. If your child must have a bottle for bedtime, try giving them a bottle with water so that they avoid exposing their mouth to unnecessary sugar.

Frequent Snacking

Unchecked snacking can expose teeth to a steady amount of sugar, which feeds bad bacteria that erodes tooth enamel and causes decay. Try monitoring your child’s snacking habits, and make sure that they are drinking plenty of water with their snacks, which will help wash away food debris and accumulated sugar. Or, give them specific snacking times to reduce overexposing their teeth to sugar.

Worn out Dental Devices

Children and teens with crowns and fillings can develop cavities near the device if it becomes old, or worn out. Over time, dental fillings can weaken and develop rough edges. This allows plaque to flourish in a hard-to-reach area, and can quickly result in a cavity. If your child complains of pain near a tooth filling or crown, then schedule a checkup with your dentist to accurately diagnose and treat the pain.

Schedule an Oral Health Checkup

We would love to get to know your family, and help your child earn a healthy smile that grows with them. We suggest scheduling an appointment with our office so that we can evaluate the state of your child’s mouth, and offer relevant guidance that will help them achieve optimal oral health.  

Your Kids can be Cavity-Free with These 6 Steps

March 30th, 2017

Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease, and what’s worse is that 20% of children’s cavities are left untreated. But there’s good news: cavities are nearly 100% preventable. Follow these steps to prevent cavities in your children’s teeth, and save a trip to the dentist!

Pick a Dental Home by Age One

Pediatric dental offices like ours seek to foster a fun and inviting environment that is specifically designed for children. Pediatric dentists have had 2-3 years of special training to care for young children and adolescents. Choose a pediatric dental home for your child before their first birthday to establish a consistent oral care routine, and prevent cavities.

Begin a Good Cleaning Routine Early

Just because your toddler doesn’t have teeth doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean their mouth! You can clean toddler’s gums with a clean, damp cloth by gently running away residual food. By doing this, you are actually improving the health of the baby teeth that will soon erupt, and familiarizing them with oral care early in their life.

Brush and Floss with Them

A great way to get your children to brush and floss is by brushing with them! It’s a fun way for you to guide them into a healthy brushing routine, and it also gives you the chance to monitor their progress and brush time. Additionally, it helps everyone involved become more accountable for their mouth care!

Avoid Sugary Drinks

When left on your teeth, sugar gives bacteria the food it needs to thrive and create cavities, which is why you should avoid sugary drinks. Beverages like soda, fruit juice and sports drinks contain high amounts of sugar that damage teeth, and affect your overall health. Try giving your children water to cut back on the amount of sugar they intake.

Limit Starchy Foods

Crackers, potato chips and other starchy foods can get stuck in the small areas of tooth surfaces.  Without proper brushing, these foods provide sugar to bacteria that feed on it which ultimately leads to tooth decay. If they do eat starchy foods, have them floss and brush approximately 30 minutes after their meal. They can also swish cool water to get rid of starchy food debris.

Add More Dairy to Your Child’s Diet

Enamel is the first line of defense for teeth, so it’s important to keep it strong. Dairy products neutralize damaging acids that eat away teeth and are rich in casein, an enamel protecting substance. Give your kids healthy dairy products like milk, non-fat greek yogurt or cheese with every meal to boost their enamel strength.

Detect Cavities Early

Tooth decay is painful and can affect the overall health of developing mouths, which is why early treatment is the best way to handle cavities. Routine checkups every six months are the best way to stay on top of your child’s oral health.

Schedule an appointment with our office today to check your children’s cavity status, and to begin them down the path to a healthy smile.