Tooth Decay Prevention
Tooth decay does not happen overnight. It is a result of a gradual process, which is brought about by the reaction of sugar in daily meal with bacteria that occurs naturally on the tooth. This reaction erodes the tooth and causes cavities to develop. Your pediatric dentist will take care of this situation by scraping off the decay and filling the cavity with a suitable filling material. For extreme cases, decay can cause damage to nerve endings, and require that the tooth be covered with a crown for additional strength.
Tooth decay is avoidable if your child maintains good dental habits. Make sure your child has regular dental appointments, flosses and brushes his teeth two times every day, avoids foods that are bad for the teeth, and have fluoride treatments twice a year. Maintaining good oral habits will help keep your child’s teeth healthy and eliminate expensive treatments.
It can be difficult to eliminate food particles and bacteria from the chewing surfaces of the posterior teeth. This is because of the serrations and grooves on the surface. In addition to the natural rough shape of these surfaces, the reaction of food and bacteria produces acids, which erode the tooth enamel and give rise to cavities or holes. Research shows that this is the way 88% of school children in America get their cavities. These cavities, grooves, serrations, and roughness can be repaired with the use of teeth sealants. Sealants are resin compounds applied to the posterior teeth, premolars, and molars and all areas susceptible to cavities. Sealants seal these surfaces and prevent food particles and bacteria from getting trapped and causing damage. Sealants will last for many years but it is recommended you have them checked at every dental visit.
Fluoride helps in the development of strong and healthy teeth. Some cities have tap water already treated with fluoride. This is not the case locally. Since fluoride is not added to our local drinking water, your pediatric dentist may recommend fluoride supplements for your household. Your child can also get fluoride from food sources such as fish, eggs, meat etc. Combined with regular flossing, fluoride minimizes the occurrence of teeth cavities.
Infants develop the habit of sucking their fingers or thumbs because of the relaxing effect it has on them. This habit usually ends by the time a child’s permanent front teeth are falling out. This occurs between two and four years of age. In some cases, there are children who keep this habit beyond the appearance of the permanent front teeth. Thumb or finger sucking at this stage has serious adverse effect on the dental health of a child. It causes teeth misalignment and bad development of the mouth. If your child has been sucking on his/her thumb for a while, inform your pediatric dentist who will provide a solution.
Here are some ways to help your child outgrow thumb sucking:
- Use a sock or bandage to cover his/her hand before they sleep at night.
- Avoid getting angry and reprimanding your child when they suck their thumb. For best results, celebrate and cheer them on when they do not suck.
- Get to the root of the matter. Find the stress, discomfort or anxiety that spurred your child into thumb sucking and eliminate the problem at the source.
- There are times when your child will find it very difficult not to suck…praise and applaud them when they avoid sucking during these times.