Cavities develop when there is tooth decay. Tooth decay happens when the bacteria in your mouth consume the sugars in the things you eat and drink. Over time, the bacteria forms a sticky film called plaque. This plaque gradually dissolves the enamel of the tooth and if not removed, will eventually causes cavities.
While there’s no way to get rid of the bacteria on our mouths, there are ways to prevent cavities from forming.
Here are 6 ways to help keep cavities away:
- Keep teeth clean. Teach your children to brush their teeth at least twice per day, using a toothpaste that contains fluoride. To remove the plaque and harmful bacteria, you should brush for at least two minutes. (Sing Happy Birthday twice while brushing) If your little one doesn’t have teeth yet, clean their gums with a soft cloth.
- Floss, Floss, Floss. Cavities like to hide between your teeth. Sometimes only floss can reach the food particles that get stuck between teeth. Teach your little ones to floss at least once a day. Make it part of the nightly routine.
- Eat nutritious and balanced meals. Nutritious foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, are high in vitamins and minerals that are important for good dental health. What our children eat, or don’t eat, affects how their teeth develop. Check out Five Nutrition Tips for Healthy Kids’ Smiles for more information about nutrition and dental health.
- Ask for dental sealants. Sealants are a plastic coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars) that protects them from decay. We recommend them as soon as the permanent molars erupt, usually between 6 to 12 years of age. Watch our video for more information about sealants.
- Choose products with xylitol. Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from the fibrous parts of plants, that doesn’t break down like sugar and can help maintain a neutral pH level in the mouth. It protects the teeth from decay by preventing bacteria from sticking to the teeth. Because bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities are unable to digest xylitol, their growth is greatly reduced. Read more about The Benefits of Xylitol for Cavity Prevention.
- Schedule regular cleanings and exams. Regular visits can help find potential problems early and help kids get used to visiting the dentist so they’ll have less fear about going as they get older. We recommend every 6 months for a check up. Schedule an appointment today.
With the right care and healthy habits, your child can grow up to have a lifetime of healthy teeth and smiles.
If you ever have any concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.