Tooth decay is one of the top diseases affecting children in our country. It is also one of the main reasons why kids miss school; because of pain or the need for treatment. It’s also preventable, if you know what you’re doing.
Know the Family Risk Factors
Did you know the bacteria that causes tooth decay can be passed down from parent to child? Sharing eating utensils, food, baby’s fingers going in your mouth, or passing saliva in any way allows these bacteria to pass from one person to another. If you’ve had a past history of frequent cavities, then your child is at an added risk. Fortunately, Dr. Raju Sarna can help you to take preventative steps to minimize the chance of your child developing extensive tooth decay, even if you as a parent weren’t so lucky.
Encourage Kids to Drink Lots of Water
Tap water contains important minerals, like fluoride, for healthy tooth and bone development. If your child is sipping on fruit juices or sports drinks day, they’re being exposed to natural and artificial sugars that fuel cavity-causing bacteria. Water is the perfect hydration aid, but it also rinses teeth clean while your child drinks it. Invest in fun, personalized bottles to make choosing water the fun choice.
Schedule Regular Dental Check-ups
During your child’s check-up at our family dental office, we’ll screen for enamel demineralization to try and catch cavities before they start. After the cleaning, we’ll also apply a fluoride treatment to help re-mineralize the teeth and make them more resistant to decay. As part of the exam, X-rays may be necessary to screen for cavities in areas that aren’t visible, such as between teeth or just under the enamel.
Ask for Dental Sealants
A sealant is a protective coating that goes in the deep grooves of the back teeth, blocking out cavity-causing bacteria. The smoother the surface the easier it is to brush clean. Our dentists can place sealants on permanent molars (“6-year” and “12-year” molars) as soon as they’ve erupted. The procedure is simple, quick, and no shots or drilling is necessary.
Never Skip the Dental Floss
A large percentage of cavities start between the teeth. Brushing is vital, but it’s physically impossible for a toothbrush to reach these areas. Flossing needs to be a part of your child’s daily routine, just as much as brushing is. Because children have fewer, smaller teeth, it’s ok to use a handheld flosser to reach into their tiny mouths. Just be sure to use gentle pressure and rub the sides of each tooth, even the ones in the very back.
Treat Cavities Early
Baby teeth do eventually fall out, but if one of them develops tooth decay, the cavity can spread to other teeth in a matter of months. Early diagnosis is key to pinpointing these areas and treating them before other teeth get involved.
At Hawthorne Village Dental Care, we’re committed to helping children enjoy healthy teeth for a lifetime. Your family is always welcome here. Contact us today to schedule your next visit with us!