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Prevention and Cavity Treatment in Children

Cavities are the most common chronic disease effecting children today. When left untreated, cavities can cause pain, infection, crowding of adult teeth, increased cost, missed school, and many other problems. Dental cavities are completely preventable with the right diet, oral care, and instruction. When a cavity is present, it is important to stop the decay before it progresses into a much more serious problem.

What Are Cavities and What Causes Them?

A cavity is simply when the bacteria in the mouth take in sugar and produce acid which then creates a hole in the tooth. The acid begins by etching the tooth just as glass gets etched. Then the tooth’s protective coating, the enamel, is damaged. If not treated, bacteria acid can damage the tooth into the nerve and create an infection in the bone.

Sugar is the leading cause of cavities in children. The bacteria live off sugar and produce the harmful acid. This can be anything from milk, breastmilk, formulas for babies, sippy cup juice for toddlers, fruit snacks, cookies, candy, etc. Sugary snacks and drinks are major reasons for decay in older children and teens as well, with sodas, sports drinks, and candy.

How to Prevent Cavities in Your Child

The best way to prevent cavities is through proper oral hygiene, good dietary habits, and regular dental checkups.

Cavity Prevention at Home

  • Oral Hygiene:

    • Brush twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste

    • Floss at least once daily

    • Parents should brush children’s teeth until 8-9 years old

  • Diet:

    • Do not give babies bottles or breastfeed through the night

    • Avoid juice, especially in sippy cups

    • Avoid sticky treats and candies like fruit snacks

    • Use gum and products with Xylitol to fight cavities

Cavity Prevention at the Dentist

  • Children should see their dentist for a visit every six months for evaluation.

  • Fluoride treatments are an affordable way to help prevent cavities.

  • Another effective form of prevention available through our office are sealants. The sealant is safe, painless, and simple way to fill in deep grooves of teeth and prevent cavities. A sealant is basically a runny white filling that flows into deeps areas of these teeth and reduces cavities by up to 80%.

How We Treat Your Child’s Cavities

We want cavity treatment in children to be done in a caring and compassionate way. We strive to provide exceptional dentistry in a safe environment, while allowing the child to still love coming to the dentist.

In early stages of cavities, there are some much less invasive options such as fluoride varnish, polishing the cavity off, and even a liquid that can stop cavities when brushed on. If a hole forms, we remove the decay and seal the hole off with a composite filling. As cavities grow and if they become to large, fillings no longer will stay on and a cap will be required to cover the tooth.

In advanced stages, sometimes the bacteria in cavities will go into the nerve. When this occurs the nerve will need to be cleaned out or even have the tooth extracted.

Cavity Treatment and Prevention with Your Pediatric Dentist

We strive to educate and inform our patients on strategies to prevent cavities. We do all we can to instill proper brushing and flossing habits, dietary recommendations, and schedule regular checkups with a pediatric office. This team approach with parents can minimize the risk of cavities in baby teeth and permanent teeth and instill good oral care for the rest of patients lives.

Contact us for more information at (970) 639-9551.