Cavity Prevention Through Oral Health Education
Because a cavity can develop as soon as a tooth erupts our office focuses on early prevention visits to educate families on proper oral healthcare. Cavities are the most common chronic disease among children, and generally most cavities are preventable with the proper diet, and oral hygiene. We recommend your child sees the dentist when the first tooth erupts, or by age one (whichever is sooner) because we know cavity prevention measures can help avoid costly dental treatment in the future.
What Causes Cavities?
Cavities are caused by a number of things. For a cavity to develop a child needs to have teeth, food, and plaque (bacteria); all three play an important role in the development of tooth decay. Plaque which is composed of bacteria naturally grows on our teeth. When a child eats the plaque uses the starches and sugars as fuel for growth, and the waste produced is acid. This acid sits on a tooth and destroys the enamel which can lead to the formation of a cavity. As the bacteria get breakdown more of the tooth they can cause pain, and eventually lead to infection. Luckily for us we can limit the sugars and starches we eat, and remove plaque through brushing and flossing.
Good oral hygiene and diet can help keep your child smiling and cavity free.
Diet and Oral Health
Many parents wonder how their child got cavities when they don’t eat a lot of sugar. Reality is that any food can cause a cavity, but there are certain ones that are more likely. Sugars are the most easy food for plaque to breakdown, meaning they are the most likely to increase the risks of getting a cavity. Starches, eventually are broken into sugars, and they can be really sticky in the grooves of the teeth and pose a higher risk for cavities as well. Interested in what foods will and won’t cause cavities? Download our free Snack Guide.
Here are some easy to follow tips:
- Limit between meal snacks, and choose healthful foods
- Limit juice to less than 4-6 oz per day
- Limit sugars and starches
How to Brush Your Child’s Teeth
We find many parents ask, “Why is it difficult to brush my child’s teeth?” While brushing can be a challenge, it is best to start at a young age. Initially children are orally defensive, it is natural to for children to cry during brushing at a young age. We recommend brushing your child’s teeth two times each day as plaque builds up quickly throughout the day. When children are young it should be done by parents, and should only take thirty to sixty seconds. Once children have built up enough dexterity they can be supervised when they brush, and should brush for two minutes; this usually occurs around age seven or eight (when the child can write cursive or tie his or her shoes).
At a young age it may be necessary to control your child’s movements when brushing. Brushing two times per day and a healthful diet are some of the best cavity prevention measures.
What to Expect With Your Child’s First Dental Visit
Dr. Jarod designed and created our office with kids in mind. Our friendly arctic theme is centered around his favorite animal, the polar bear. When children enter our office they are excited to play with the train table, or grab a book off of our polar bear bookshelf. We even have a movie playing in the waiting room for older children.
At the first visit Dr. Jarod will examine your child’s teeth. Infants and toddlers may have trouble sitting still so we allow them to sit in their caregivers lap to have their teeth brushed, and an exam performed. After the exam Dr. Jarod goes over cavity prevention tips to help keep your child’s smile healthy. Older children may receive a professional cleaning, and x-rays (radiographs) if necessary.
*Accepting new patients from Muscatine and areas near West Liberty, Columbus Junction, Wapello, Tipton, Wilton, Durant, Stockton, Walcott, Blue Grass.