Fluoride and its Role in Prevention
Fluoride Works for People of All Ages...
Fluoride prevents cavities by making your tooth enamel stronger. Fluoride can even keep weak spots in your tooth enamel from turning into cavities.
- The Cavity-Fighters
- Snacks and Drinks with NO Sugar
- Daily Brushing
Fluoride can be found in:
The ingestion of fluoride results in its incorporation into the dentin and enamel of unerupted teeth; this makes the teeth more resistant to acid attack after eruption into the mouth. In addition ingested fluoride is also secreted into saliva and protects the enamel from early decay.
If the dentist has diagnosed cavities in your child’s mouth, it’s very important to have them filled as soon as possible. Baby teeth are really small and it doesn’t take long for the cavity to pass through the enamel and reach the nerve. Remember, infected baby tooth can damage the adult tooth underneath permanently. You’ll have to brush your child’s teeth for them because they have not developed the motor skills required to brush efficiently yet.
Through the ages of 6-13 , kids have some primary and some permanent teeth in their mouth and it’s very important to understand how to take care of your child’s permanent teeth at this stage.
Caring For Permanent Teeth
Until your child is between 6 and 8 years old, you should continue to help him or her brush at least twice a day — once in the morning and once before bed. It's very important to keep your child's teeth free of food particles, especially the molars. These teeth have lots of little grooves and crevices where food particles can hide. The easiest way to help your child brush is to cradle his or her head in your one arm, while keeping your other hand free for brushing. Once children have the coordination and dexterity, they can brush on their own. However, be sure to inspect after each brushing and go over spots he or she may have missed.
A few other tips:
Use a soft nylon toothbrush with just a small, pea-size dab of fluoride toothpaste. Teach your child how to spit out the foamy saliva so he or she doesn't swallow it. As soon as any two of your child's teeth touch each other, floss the teeth. After age 9, children have enough dexterity to begin to floss their own teeth. Flossing removes food from between the teeth where a toothbrush can't reach and helps prevent cavities.
Diet And Your Child's Teeth
What your child eats is important for healthy teeth, but it's just as important to be careful about when and how often they eat. A balanced diet is important for long-term dental health — teeth that grow properly and healthy gums. When and how often your child eats can have more immediate effects.
Cavities can develop when carbohydrate foods are allowed to stay in the mouth or on the teeth for a long time. Bacteria that live in the mouth feast on these food particles and create an acid that eats away at tooth enamel. Time between meals allows saliva to wash away the acid. Frequent snacking keeps the mouth acidic and decay-prone. When most people think of sugar, they think of sucrose, which is found in candy and baked goods. But all foods containing carbohydrates ultimately break down into simple sugars. Research shows that bacteria do not discriminate. They like pretzels and potato chips just as much as lollipops.
Here are a few tips for snacking and mealtime:
- Give your child healthy snack foods, like fresh fruits, vegetables and cheeses
- Buy foods that are sugar-free or unsweetened
- Serve sugary or starchy foods as part of a meal rather than as a snack
- Try to avoid sticky foods unless your child plans to brush right after he or she eats them.
These foods get between teeth and are hard to remove from the grooves in the tooth surface. Some of these foods, which are more likely to lead to cavities, may surprise you:
- Creme-filled sandwich cookies
- Dried figs
- Granola bars
- Jelly beans
- Oatmeal cookies
- Peanut butter cookies
- Plain doughnuts
- Potato chips and pretzels
- Puffed oat cereal Raisins
- Offer fewer snacks. If your child is eating frequently the level of acid in the mouth, remains high for longer periods of time.
- After your child snacks make sure his or her teeth are brushed If this isn't possible, then have him or her rinse with water several times.
- Encourage your child to choose xylitol-sweetened or sugar-free gum.
- Never put your child to bed with a bottle filled with milk, formula, juice or soda.