TOOTH DECAY / CAVITY PREVENTION
Nobody wants to hear they have a cavity, which is why taking the necessary steps to prevent them are important. Tooth decay is a progressive disease. Bacteria that are naturally on our teeth interact with sugars from our everyday diet producing acids that then break down the mineral in our teeth. This is how a cavity is formed. The dentist then tells you that you need a filling. The decay is removed and the tooth is filled, restoring the tooth to a healthy state. When more severe decay occurs, a crown is often needed.
To avoid the dreaded cavity news it’s necessary to adhere to a strict dental hygiene regimen. This includes brushing and flossing twice a day, regular dental check-ups, diet control, and fluoride treatment. You’ll have healthy teeth and avoid costly treatments!
The chewing surfaces of our back teeth are full of grooves and thus are extremely difficult (sometime impossible) to clean of bacteria and food. The bacteria reacts with the food causing acid to form and then our teeth enamel starts to break down, causing cavities. Recent studies show that 88 percent of all cavities in American school children are caused this way.
Tooth Sealants protect these susceptible areas by sealing the grooves, preventing bacteria and food from residing in these areas. The sealant is a resin typically applied to the back teeth, molars, premolars, and areas prone to cavities. It typically lasts for several years but needs to be checked during regular dental appointments.
Fluoride helps teeth become stronger and resistant to decay. Drinking fluoride-treated water and brushing and flossing regularly significantly helps in lowering the number of cavities we’re likely to get. Dentists are able to evaluate the level of fluoride in drinking water and can also recommend fluoride supplements if necessary.
Thumb sucking is a natural relaxation reflex for babies and toddlers. Children usually stop sucking their thumb when the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. Most children stop between the ages of 2 and 4. Sucking that persists beyond the eruption of the primary teeth can cause improper growth of the mouth and misalignment of the teeth. If you notice prolonged and/or vigorous thumb sucking by your child, talk to your dentist.
Here are some ways to help your child outgrow the thumb sucking habit:
- – You won’t want to scold your child for sucking their thumb, but instead, praise them when they don’t suck their thumb.
- – Thumb sucking is a comfort device that helps children cope with discomfort or stress. Focus on eliminating the cause of anxiety.
- – Make sure to praise them when they are able to refrain during difficult times.
- – Place a bandage on the thumb or put a sock on their hand at night.