Decay & Prevention
The dentists and team at Treehouse Dental Care teach your kids the skills they need to care for their own teeth. There are many ways to help prevent tooth decay in children and to keep their smiles healthy.
Fluoride for Children
Fluoride absorbed by your body when teeth were forming (during mother’s pregnancy to early childhood) integrates into the structure of enamel and makes it stronger.
After teeth eruption, fluoride found in your toothpaste, mouthwash, or in what your dentist places on your teeth still has a positive effect on your teeth. It strengthens the enamel and reduces the chance of tooth decay.
Dental Health and Your Kid's Diet
Maintaining a healthy diet for your child is important for their oral and overall health. There is no denying that sugar is a favourite for kids to consume. However, sugar is the main cause of dental decay when there is bacteria present.
More significant than the amount of sugar you eat is the frequency of consumption. Probably the worst thing you can do to your teeth is to drink a sugary beverage such as a soda and have a sip every few minutes over a long period of time; the same is true for snacking. It is recommended that if you want to have a snack, soda or juice, it is best to have it after you eat your food, as a form of dessert or have it in one sitting.
Eating or drinking something sweet over an extended period of time creates a constant supply of sugar for bacteria that causes tooth decay! It is important to be aware of all the sources of sugar that are out there. It is not just everything that is sweet, but anything that can turn to sugar like pieces of bread. Cutting down your sugar intake is good for cavity prevention, as well as your general health.
But what about when you have to have sugar?
The best way to avoid cavities is to prevent the sugar from staying next to your teeth. Brushing after eating sugar, rinsing your mouth with fluoride mouthwash, or chewing sugarless gum can help. However, nothing has the same effect as avoiding sugar!
Is there any kind of food that prevents tooth decay?
Well, not really. Some people believe that chewing solid foods like apples and carrots may have some plaque removal effect, but they still contain some form of sugar.
Another group of food that causes significant damage to the structure of the tooth is acidic foods.
If in frequent contact with teeth, food such as lime, lemon, and grapefruit can cause serious irreversible damage (erosion) to your teeth.
Prevent Decay with Sealants for Kids
What are sealants?
Sealants are thin layers of resin that are placed on the pits, fissures, and grooves of molars to prevent decay on the surface of children’s teeth.
The majority of decay on back teeth starts in the grooves and pits of chewing surfaces, especially during the first few years after their eruption. Sealing these surfaces with composite resins prevent this kind of decay.
Sealants are one of the most effective methods of preventing decay on the surfaces where they are placed. Although it is still a possibility that decay may develop on surfaces in between teeth, sealants significantly reduce the overall chance of having cavities.
What is baby bottle tooth decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay is the result of frequent, prolonged contact with liquids that contain sugars such as fruit juices, milk, formula or any other sweetened drinks. Human breast milk is also a contributor to baby bottle tooth decay.
As the sugars break down in the mouth, bacteria can start feeding on the sugars, produce acids and cause tooth decay.
Nursing or Baby Bottle Decay and Cavities
If left untreated, decayed teeth can cause pain and discomfort. Not only can decayed teeth affect your child’s comfort, primary teeth also help guide permanent teeth into place.
If the teeth are damaged or absent, they are unable to help guide permanent teeth into their proper position, possibly affecting future crowding of teeth or crooked adult teeth. Badly decayed baby teeth could lead to an abscessed tooth, with the infection spreading to between the teeth and the gums or affecting the root of the tooth.
Tips to preventing baby bottle tooth decay:
- To calm your baby, don’t give a bottle filled with sugary liquids. Instead, give them water or use a pacifier.
- Don’t coat your baby’s pacifier in a sweetener of any kind such as sugar or honey as a way to comfort them.
- Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle filled with sugary liquids. Water is best.
- Use a wet cloth or gauze to wipe your child’s teeth and gums after each feeding. This helps remove any excess sugar, preventing the chance for bacteria to form.
Contact our Toronto dental team to book your child's next dentist appointment.
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