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Cavity Prevention

What is a Cavity? 

Cavities form when bacteria that live in plaque use sugar to create an acid-attack on teeth. They often form on the biting surfaces of teeth as well as in between teeth, where our toothbrushes cannot reach. Cavities can cause pain and infection, and they can even affect developing permanent teeth if left untreated. By the age of 5, around 50% of children have cavities. Dental pain is the number one reason that children miss school from pain. Cavities are preventable! Our team can help you form a personalized cavity prevention plan for your child! 


Tooth brushing should begin as soon as the first tooth is in the mouth. Parents should brush their child's teeth until the child is able to tie their own shoes or ride a bike, as brushing properly requires advanced dexterity. Brushing is recommended a minimum of two times a day with fluoridated toothpaste. No additional drinks (other than water) or snacks should be consumed after the evening brushing. 2 times a day for 2 minutes!  


Water is always best! If your child drinks milk, it is best to be consumed at mealtime, as it does have high sugar content. Water should be consumed with all other snacks and throughout the day. Sugary drinks like pop, juice, sports drinks, chocolate milk, etc should be avoided entirely. Juice provides no nutritional value and is an unnecessary source of sugar. A good alternative would be crystal light or sugar free water flavoring options. No beverages other than water should be consumed overnight. If your child nurses in the night, you can brush or gently wipe the teeth with a washcloth.


Once your child's teeth are touching, it is time to introduce flossing into their oral care routine at least once per day. The toothbrush cannot clear plaque and bacteria from the area between teeth, which is a very common area for cavities to form. Creating a flossing habit at a young age will help your child carry this healthy habit for the rest of their lives! 


Always try to avoid snacks high in sugar. Snacks should not replace nutritious meals. Try to choose snacks low in sugar and not sticky, including fruit, vegetables, low-fat cheese, yogurt, etc. Clean the snack from the teeth as soon as possible - swishing with water is an acceptable alternative to toothbrushing when out and about. Be careful about snacking too frequently between meals. It is also important to remember that snacks with refined carbohydrates (cheese crackers or chips for example) can also cause cavities!


While using a fluoride mouth rinse is not a requirement for good oral health, it can definitely help. These rinses provide an extra source of fluoride and help to clear bacteria containing plaque from the mouth. Mouthwash is not an alternative to brushing or flossing, and should only be used as an adjunct. Children should not utilize mouthwash until they are able to swish and spit it out.

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