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It is not incredibly uncommon for children to get cavities simply because their oral hygiene habits aren’t as pristine as they should be. Unfortunately, having multiple cavities can affect the way that your child’s teeth look. Knowing how to avoid cavities and what the causes are will help your child to have a gorgeous smile that they can feel confident showing off. Plus, it prevents your child from having to get a lot of dental work done simply because they have decay in one or more of their teeth. Keeping up on their dental care and working closely with their orthodontist is key to helping keep on top of any cavities that might surface.
What is a Cavity and Why Is It Harmful?
Cavities are decay that essentially eat away at the teeth if they are not taken care of properly. Unfortunately, many smaller cavities go undetected until they get much bigger, when they begin to hurt the child and cause tooth issues and sensitivity. Cavities can occur at any time in a person’s life, but they are incredibly common in children because they are prone to bad oral hygiene habits. Filling cavities are often the only thing you can do if decay is present, since other methods simply do not work to get rid of the decay and restore the tooth to its former glory. If left untreated, the decay in a tooth can go further into the dentin and affect the nerve, resulting in the need for a root canal and eventual crown. To prevent needing a root canal and crown, you need to have your child get these cavities filled as soon as they are found.
What are the Causes of Cavities?
Many different factors can combine to cause cavities in the mouth. For instance, some children are more prone to cavities than others because their teeth are weaker. Others may get cavities because of their eating habits. For example, children who eat a lot of sugary sweets and drinks are more prone to cavities than kids who eat lots of veggies and healthier foods. It’s also important to avoid allowing your child to drink anything other than water before bed and during the nighttime as drinking sugary drinks and milk at night can cause cavities. One of the other leading causes for cavities in kids is the inability to brush their teeth properly and by not flossing between the teeth even if they brush well.
How to Avoid Cavities
There are several steps for your child to remain cavity-free and implementing all of these steps is key to providing your child with good oral health and hygiene. First off, it is crucial that you teach your child how to brush their teeth properly and how to floss. Many dental experts, like orthodontists, will recommend that kids use power or electric toothbrushes so that the dirt and plaque found on the tooth’s surface can be quickly whisked away even if they aren’t that great at brushing their teeth.
It might also be a good time to teach your child better eating and drinking habits. For example, if your child loves sugary drinks, they can and should switch to plain water. If they love sweets and candy, it might be time to switch to better foods that aren’t just healthier, but better for their teeth. Making better choices about what they eat is crucial and can affect their long-term dental health. Likewise, it might be time to talk to their orthodontist and dental professionals about sealants. These clear covers are poured on top of the tooth and cured to protect the chewing surfaces from cavities and deep decay. Many children benefit greatly from sealants because of how well they work in preventing cavities.
Steps for Your Child to Remain Cavity-Free
Once you know what are the causes of cavities, it is easier for you to implement a plan that is going to prevent decay and get your child’s teeth looking their absolute best. Below is a guideline of steps that you can take to keep your child’s teeth cavity-free:
• Teach your child proper brushing and flossing techniques.
• Help your child brush their teeth twice a day until they are about six years old.
• Get your baby and toddler off of the pacifier as soon as possible.
• Teach better eating and drinking habits.
• Get them into the dental office regularly for checkups and cleanings.
• Consider sealants for children who are more cavity-prone.
Taking a proactive approach to your child’s dental health is important in preventing decay and future problems. This prevents your child from having a lot of fillings early on in life that can eventually lead to root canals, crowns and bridgework. Plus, the more that you teach your child about dental health and hygiene, the more likely they will be to use this knowledge throughout their life for a healthier and more beautiful smile.
How an Orthodontist Can Help
Many children visit the orthodontist for orthodontic work at least once in their life. Your orthodontist is a wonderful step to keeping your children’s teeth looking their best and your first defense in preventing cavities. Ask the orthodontist about what they see at each of your child’s visits and whether there is decay present that needs to be addressed quickly. Your child’s orthodontist will also be the one to recommend brushing techniques that are specific to kids who are wearing braces and other orthodontic work.
Making an Appointment for Your Child
One way to also prevent cavities in children is to get them proper orthodontic work. When their teeth are straight and aligned, it is easier for them to keep them as clean as possible. This is why it is a good idea to contact your local office and make a consultation appointment for your child to have orthodontic work started. The pros will be more than happy to work with your child and get them the work that they need so that their teeth can be in excellent shape. They can also keep an eye on your child’s teeth and watch for signs of decay and other problems that might be present when they come in for their monthly appointments for adjustments and impressions as well.
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What guidelines will help children remain cavity-free?
Dr. Joel Gluck has practiced orthodontics since 1983 when he opened his own office in Nashville. He earned his undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis, and his dental degree at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Gluck then completed an orthodontic specialty residency at the University of Michigan, one of the top five orthodontic training residencies in the country. He also wrote an original thesis and received a Master of Science degree.