Preventive dentistry is precautionary care. It focuses more on avoiding a problem than treating it. Children’s teeth are just like adult teeth. They are prone to all kinds of dental issues and problems faced by adult teeth. Baby teeth are temporary, but they play a significant role by reserving the space for the adult teeth so that they erupt correctly.
The types of food we eat and how often throughout the day we eat certain foods can drastically affect the amount of tooth decay present. Often, the frequency of snacking with certain carbohydrate rich foods can be more detrimental than the total amount ingested.
After the initial consult visit, parents may be asked to keep a diet log for their children and record the types of food being eating and at what time. After careful analysis, we can isolate what factors in a child’s diet may be placing them at risk for tooth decay, as well as suggest diet plans which can optimize your child’s oral health.
Fluoride is the most effective agent available to help prevent tooth decay. It is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in almost all foods and water supplies. The benefit of fluoride has been well known for over 50 years and is supported by many health and professional organizations.
Fluoride works in two ways:
Once the teeth have erupted, topical fluoride strengthens them by seeping into the outer surface of the tooth enamel, making the teeth more resistant to decay. We take in topical fluoride by using fluoride containing dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and gels.
Systemic fluoride strengthens the teeth that have erupted as well as those that are developing under the gums. We gain systemic fluoride from most foods and our community water supplies. It is also available as a supplement in liquid or gel form and can be prescribed by your dentist or physician. It is very important to monitor the amounts of fluoride a child ingests. If too much fluoride is consumed while the teeth are developing, a condition called fluorosis (white spots on the teeth) may result.
Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it is not enough to help prevent decay. Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend the use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments for the following risk factors:
Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth.
Exposed and sensitive root surfaces.
Fair to poor oral hygiene habits.
Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake.
Inadequate exposure to fluoride.
Inadequate saliva flow due to medical conditions, medical treatments or medications.
Recent history of dental decay.
Recent Orthodontic Treatment
Remember, fluoride alone will not prevent tooth decay! It is important that you help your child brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, eat balanced meals, reduce sugary snacks, and visit your dentist on a regular basis.
Injuries to the teeth and jaws can be dramatically reduced through the continuous use of an athletic mouth guards worn by athletes who are engaged in contact sports. At our office, we fabricate custom made mouth guards which have better fit and comfort, are less likely to affect a child's speech, and are less likely to come loose as opposed to commercially bought mouth guards.
A sealant is a clear or tooth colored material applied to the deep grooves and pitted surfaces of a cavity-free tooth to “seal” out food and bacteria, thus reducing the risk of decay. The procedure is quick and comfortable and if properly maintained, lasts several years.
Although sealants are effective in reducing the risk of future cavities on the chewing surfaces of teeth, diligent tooth brushing and flossing is essential to ensure good oral health.