Did you know that tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children? It’s important to prevent tooth decay as early as possible because it can have a number of negative effects on health.
Here at North Pointe Dental Associates, we are home to some of the best dentists in Tampa. We specialize in general and cosmetic dentistry, offering everything from full mouth reconstruction to teeth whitening. In this blog post, we will discuss how tooth decay happens, seven ways to prevent it naturally, and five effects tooth decay can have on health.
What is tooth decay?
Tooth decay is the destruction of tooth enamel, which is the hard outer layer of the tooth. Decay is caused by a combination of factors, including bacteria in the mouth, sugary or acidic foods and drinks, and poor oral hygiene. When these factors work together, they create an acidic environment that attacks tooth enamel. Over time, this can lead to cavities.
There are a number of things you can do to prevent tooth decay in your children.
Encourage them to brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
The best way to prevent tooth decay is by brushing your kid’s teeth twice a day. This helps remove plaque, which is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth. Plaque produces acids that can damage the enamel of the teeth.
If plaque is not removed, it can harden and turn into calculus (tartar). Brushing and flossing help remove plaque before it turns into tartar.
It’s important to brush all surfaces of your teeth, including the front, back, and chewing surfaces. Use gentle circular motions with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Be sure to brush for two minutes each time you brush.
Make sure they floss daily
You and your kids should floss at least once a day, preferably before you brush your teeth. You can floss more often if you like, but be sure to use a clean piece of floss each time so that you don’t re-introduce plaque into your mouth.
Limit their intake of sugary and acidic foods and drinks
Sugary and acidic foods and drinks can damage tooth enamel. They should be limited as much as possible, especially between meals.
If your child does eat or drink something sugary or acidic, have them brush their teeth soon afterward. This will help remove the sugars and acids from their teeth before they have a chance to do any damage.
Encourage them to chew sugarless gum.
Chewing sugarless gum after meals can help prevent tooth decay because it helps remove food from teeth and stimulates saliva production. Saliva is important because it helps neutralize acids in the mouth and wash away food particles.
Take them for regular dental checkups and cleanings.
Regular dental checkups and cleanings are important because they help remove plaque and tartar from teeth. This can help prevent tooth decay and other dental problems.
During a dental cleaning, the dentist or hygienist will use special instruments to remove plaque and tartar from your child’s teeth. They will also polish their teeth to make them extra smooth so that plaque has a harder time sticking to them.
At North Pointe Dental Associates, we recommend that children have a dental checkup every six months. During these appointments, we will assess your child’s oral health and discuss any concerns you may have. We will also provide tips on how to care for your child’s teeth at home.
Use sealants on their molars.
Sealants are a thin coating of plastic that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. They can help prevent tooth decay because they create a barrier between the tooth and food particles.
Sealants are most effective when they are applied to teeth that have not yet decayed. That’s why we recommend sealants for children who are at high risk for tooth decay, such as those with deep grooves in their molars.
Make sure they are getting enough fluoride.
Fluoride is a mineral that helps prevent tooth decay. It can be found in many foods and drinks, including water.
Most children who live in the United States get enough fluoride from the water they drink. However, if your child’s teeth are not getting enough fluoride, they may be more likely to develop cavities.
There are a number of ways to get fluoride, including:
-Drinking fluoridated water
-Using fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwashes
-Eating foods and taking supplements that contain fluoride
Effects of tooth decay
Tooth decay can have a number of negative effects on health, including:
-Pain and discomfort
-Problems with eating and speaking
-Loss of teeth
-Damage to the jawbone
Schedule your next appointment today!
If you think your child may have tooth decay, it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible. Early treatment can help prevent further damage and pain. Our award-winning doctors and staff continue to deliver the highest quality of care to ensure patient satisfaction.