Preventing Cavities for Children

What Do You Mean, Preventing Cavities for Children?

Proper brushing and flossing routines begin long before your child’s permanent teeth begin to show. As you put these routines into place, your children will start to understand the importance of preventing cavities and maintaining a high standard of oral health. Educating your child can raise lots of questions, from “Can breastfeeding cause cavities?” to “Are cavities contagious?

Preventative dentistry includes everything your dentist can do to help you maintain excellent oral health. Does your child have a tooth? It’s time to start thinking about how to take care of it!

The First “Happy Visit”

Somewhere between the ages of 6 and 18 months, your toddler will go to the first of many regular dental appointments to ensure her or his teeth develop and erupt properly. During the first “Happy Visit”, parents accompany the child, making the visit is pleasant and helping him or her adjust to the new environment. The dentist will check cheeks, tongue, the roof of the mouth and have at look at your child’s teeth. If your child uses a pacifier or sucks their thumb, your dentist will check to see if this could contribute to misaligned teeth.

The Importance of Good Oral Hygiene

At this early age, it is especially important for moms and dads to assist children with proper oral hygiene. We encourage parents to ask any questions they have concerning the oral health of the child. Following the “Happy Visit”, your dentist will discuss with you how frequently your child should receive his or her routine dental exams.

As your child develops into a toddler, your dentist or hygienist will ask your child to show how they brush and floss their teeth. Your dental professional will go over techniques with you and your child, offering tips and tricks so that spots are not missed and plaque does not build up.

Around this time, children will also have their first dental cleaning. Also known as “scaling”, dental cleanings prevent decay by removing any tartar or plaque that adhere to the teeth. Before a cleaning, your dentist or hygienist will explain the process to the child, showing the instruments involved and asking them to notice the difference in how their teeth look before and after the procedure. Following the cleaning process, your dentist may consult with you about applying fluoride or sealants.

The Fluoride Question

Since Bowmanville water does not contain fluoride, part of preventative dentistry includes fluoride treatment. Your dentist or dental hygienist can apply fluoride treatments directly to the teeth, in foam, gel or liquid form, helping to reverse small cavities and protect teeth from decay. During these formative years, your dentist will continue to monitor tooth development and alignment.

(Editor’s Note: Parents ask us many questions about the benefits and negative aspects of fluoride. A detailed response would take up too much room on this page. I will link to an article by Dr. Sharon as soon as it is up.)

What About Sealants?

Around the age of six, baby teeth loosen and fall out to make way for permanent teeth. When permanent teeth begin erupting, dentists often apply topical sealants, a type of thin plastic coating containing fluoride that protects teeth from the harmful, decay-causing bacteria. As permanent teeth emerge, your dentist will assess how upper and lower teeth fit together, known as “occlusion”. You can take this opportunity to talk with your dental professional about any concerns you have, from speech problems to a need for braces or another orthodontic appliance.