Dr. Loving wants to let you in on a little secret: most cavities are preventable!!
Sometimes just a simple change in our habits can mean a total shift in our overall risk for getting decay.
At each appointment, we will complete what is called a Caries Risk Assessment for your child. Though important, studies have shown that plaque removal through brushing and flossing alone is not the only driving force in the cavity process. Proper diet and eating habits, fluoride exposure and regular dental check ups are all considered risk factors. At Loving Pediatric Dentistry, we partner with our parents and focus on individual preventative needs for a more thorough and personalized approach to your dental care.
Along with oral hygiene instructions, your child will leave with a “homework task” to work on over the next 6 months. Our goal is to build on a lifetime full of good habits!
Ideas to consider:
Good Oral Hygiene
This of course is the most important step in prevention. With proper oral hygiene techniques, you can effectively remove bacteria and left over food particles. If we are leaving bacteria to grow and thrive in our mouth by not brushing, eventually the “bad” bacteria can take over and start causing cavities.
For infants, use wet gauze or a clean washcloth to remove plaque from the newly erupted teeth and gums. Never put your child to bed with a bottle filled with anything other than water once the teeth erupt!! If breastfeeding after 12 months, wipe out the last sip of milk from the child’s mouth before putting them down. Breast milk has lots of sugar in it and though natural, can still contribute to tooth decay.
For older children, brush two times a day: morning and night. Toothpaste can be any flavor or kind you like, just make sure it has fluoride. If using fluoride under the age of 3 (or before spitting), the AAPD recommends just a smear or rice-sized amount; a pea- sized amount for children aged 3-6 years.
Balance Healthy Diet
Dietary choices affect not only oral health, but also general health and well-being. Children should eat a variety of foods from the five major food groups.
Watch the type and number of snacks containing sugar you are letting them eat. Sticky foods and sour candy like gummy fruit snacks and taffy should be avoided and only given as a rare, special treat.
Foods high in protein and arginine, such as nuts and cheese, have been found to decrease caries risk.
Regular Office Visits
Patients change so much while growing, and these changes are taking place in the mouth, too. New teeth, loose teeth, braces, thumb sucking, wisdom teeth.. so many things to consider! Establishing a dental home by 1 year of age is encouraged by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. We like seeing our patients the recommended every 6 months in order to grow and keep up with them.
A sealant is a clear plastic material that is applied to the biting surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier to food, plaque and acid, protecting these areas of the teeth. It also assists in making the tooth more cleanable by the toothbrush bristles. See the before and after pictures below:
Fluoride is arguably one the most studied elements due to its beneficial affect on teeth. In proper amounts, fluoride can act to strengthen enamel and make teeth less susceptible to tooth decay. Too much or too little can be detrimental to the teeth. Excessive fluoride ingestion by preschool aged children can lead to dental fluorosis, an undesireable white to brown chalky appearance of the permanent teeth. We can discuss sources of fluoride in the diet, how to properly use toothpaste, and even test your drinking water to decrease the risk of overexposure.