Posts for tag: tooth decay
Good oral health begins with how well your child cares for their teeth and gums.
We’re all very focused on our health right now thanks to the pandemic, and while you are taking your vitamins and determining ways to boost your immune system, our Amherst, NH, pediatric dentists Dr. James McAveeney, Dr. Agata Bartels, and Dr. Andrew Cheifetz also want you to make sure that your child is practicing good oral hygiene right now to prevent cavities and other problems from occurring.
Here are the top three ways to prevent decay from happening to your child’s smile,
Make sure that your child is getting enough fluoride, as this can help strengthen tooth enamel and prevent the development of decay. Fluoride is most often found in drinking water, as well as certain foods. Our dentists may also administer fluoride treatment to your child whenever they come into our Amherst, NH, office for routine checkups. Making sure your child gets enough fluoride in their diet can reduce their risk for cavities.
You may be surprised to discover just how much sugar your child is consuming on a day-to-day basis. Even if they aren’t drinking sodas or consuming any of the things you associate with a lot of sugar, they could still be eating and drinking things that may seem healthy but actually aren’t. In fact, most packaged foods are laden with sodium and sugar, and most fruit juices are chock full of added sugar. Carefully read labels on all foods and drinks before purchasing.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
It’s important to instill healthy dental practices in your child early on. This means brushing and flossing their teeth as soon as they erupt, and also making sure they visit their dentist for regular routine visits. You will need to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss their teeth every day. Most children can start brushing their teeth on their own (with supervision) around 7-8 years old and start flossing around 10 years old.
While our office is temporarily closed until May 4th due to the coronavirus, we want you to practice good at-home hygiene to prevent tooth decay. Of course, our Amherst, NH, children’s dentists are here if your child does experience a dental emergency. Call Children's Dental Center of New Hampshire at (603) 673-1000 to schedule an emergency appointment or a Teledentistry appointment.
While dental diseases tend to be a greater concern as we get older, they also pose a potential threat to children. A particular type of tooth decay called early childhood caries (ECC) can severely damage children's unprotected teeth and skew their normal dental development.
Fortunately, you can protect your child's teeth from disease with a few simple practices. First and foremost: start a hygiene habit as soon as possible to remove disease-causing bacterial plaque. You don't have to wait until teeth appear, either: simply wipe the baby's gums with a clean wet cloth after nursing to minimize the growth of oral bacteria.
When their teeth do begin to erupt, you can switch to brushing (you can add flossing as more teeth erupt—but until the child shows appropriate dexterity, you'll need to do it for them). For infants, brush gently but thoroughly with a soft-bristled brush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste. When they grow older you can increase the toothpaste to a pea-sized amount. And as soon as you can, get them involved with learning to perform these vital habits on their own.
You should also limit your child's consumption of sugar. Our favorite carbohydrate is also a favorite of bacteria, who consume any remnants in dental plaque as a primary food source. So, keep sugary snacks and foods to a minimum and limit them mainly to mealtimes. And don't put a baby to sleep with a bottle filled with a liquid containing sugar (including formula and breastmilk).
Finally, begin taking your child to the dentist regularly by their first birthday for routine cleanings and checkups. Besides removing any hard to reach plaque, your dentist may also apply sealants and topical fluoride to help protect and strengthen tooth enamel. Regular visits make it more likely to detect the early signs of decay, before it does extensive damage. And beginning early makes it less likely your child will develop a fear of dental visits that could carry on into adulthood.
These and other steps will go a long way in protecting your child's teeth and gums so they develop normally. A little prevention and protection will help ensure a happy, healthy smile later in life.
If you would like more information on helping your child develop healthy teeth and gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Top 10 Oral Health Tips for Children.”
Protecting a child's primary (“baby”) teeth from tooth decay should be a top priority. If one is lost prematurely due to decay, it could cause the permanent tooth to misalign when it comes in.
The basic prevention strategy for every child is daily brushing and flossing and regular dental visits. But children at higher risk for decay may need more: Â additional fluoride applied to teeth enamel during office visits.
This natural mineral has been shown to strengthen enamel, teeth's protective layer against decay, especially during its early development. Enamel is composed of calcium and phosphate minerals interwoven to form a crystalline structure called hydroxyapatite. Fluoride joins with this structure and changes it to fluorapatite, which is more resistant to mouth acid than the original structure.
We mostly receive fluoride through fluoridated drinking water and dental care products like toothpaste. Topical fluoride takes it a step further with a stronger dose than found in either of these sources. It can be applied with a foam, varnish or gel using an isolation tray (foam or gel) or painted onto the enamel (varnish or gel).
But does topical fluoride effectively reduce the occurrence of decay? Research indicates yes: a recent review of 28 studies involving over 9,000 children found an average 28% reduction in decayed teeth in children who underwent topical fluoride treatments.
There is, though, one potential side effect: children who swallow the fluoride substance can become sick and experience headache, stomach pain or vomiting. This can be avoided with proper precautions when applying it; the American Dental Association also recommends using only varnish for children younger than 6 years. It's also recommended that children receiving gel or foam not eat or drink at least thirty minutes after the treatment (those who receive the varnish aren't restricted in this way).
Topical fluoride is most effective as part of an overall prevention strategy. Besides daily hygiene and regular dental visits, you can also help reduce your child's decay risk by limiting the amount of sugar in their diet. Sealants, which are applied to the nooks and grooves of teeth where plaque can build up, may also help.
Tooth decay, also referred to as dental caries, is still the most common chronic disease to affect both children and adults. Even though more and more people are beginning to understand how oral hygiene, proper diet, and routine checkups are important for reducing their risk, there is still so much that people don’t understand. Our Amherst, NH, pediatric dentists Dr. Andrew Cheifetz and Dr. James McAveeney want to make sure that you understand more about childhood tooth decay.
What is decay?
Throughout the day, our teeth develop this sticky colorless film known as plaque, which contain bacteria that feed off the sugar found in foods. Whenever you consume sugars or starches the bacteria converts them into acid, which slowly erodes the enamel of your teeth. If left untreated, the decay can spread further inside the tooth until it damages the nerves. If left untreated, cavities can lead to a severe toothache, infection or tooth loss.
Can my child’s diet increase their risk for decay?
As we mentioned above, the bacteria within plaque loves sugar (maybe as much as you do). Unfortunately, if your child consumes a diet that is high in sugar or processed foods this can significantly increase their risk for decay. This includes everything from eating cakes and cookies to even eating white bread and those packaged granola bars (many packaged “healthy” products often contain more sugar than you might imagine). Replace these foods with healthier snacks and make sure your child brushes their teeth twice a day.
Are there any symptoms?
Most of the time decay doesn’t cause any symptoms. Often the only time a cavity is detected is during a routine cleaning and exam performed by our Amherst, NH, children’s dentist. After all, we know what to look for when it comes to cavities. Of course, it’s also important to bring your child in if they are experiencing symptoms of decay including:
- A visible hole in their tooth
- A brown or dark spot on their tooth
- A toothache
- Increased or lingering tooth sensitivity to hot or cold foods
- Persistent and unexplained bad breath
Again, during the early stages of decay these symptoms usually aren’t present. If you don’t know the last time your child came in for a dental cleaning, it’s time to schedule one.
How is decay treated?
While decay is preventable, if we find a cavity we will need to remove it before it spreads. This involves numbing the area around the tooth and drilling away the decayed enamel then filling it with a tooth-colored material to restore the tooth.
Is it time to schedule your child’s next dental cleaning in Amherst, NH? Have questions about caring for your child’s smile? If so, turn to the dental experts at Children's Dental Center of New Hampshire today.
If your child has developed a cavity, you may be wondering why it needs treatment. It might seem unnecessary to treat a cavity on a tooth that will soon be replaced with a permanent one, but it's important to keep these primary teeth healthy in order to avoid premature loss or gum disease. At the Children's Dental Center of New Hampshire in Amherst, Dr. Andrew Cheifetz and Dr. James McAveeney see many young patients with cavities, also known as tooth decay, and they've answered some of the important questions they hear from concerned parents.
How does tooth decay happen?
At any time, our mouths contain millions of bacterial agents. While these won't necessarily make you sick, they can cause problems for your teeth. When the carbohydrates, or sugars, in the food you eat interacts with this bacteria, it creates an acid that can break down the structure of the enamel on the outside of the teeth. While brushing and flossing breaks this cycle and keeps decay from setting in, it doesn't take long for the acid to do damage if oral hygiene isn't a habit or certain areas are overlooked. Children are at particular risk for cavities since they are drawn to sugary foods and aren't always diligent about their oral health.
How is tooth decay treated?
Most cavities will need a filling in order to remove the decay and replace the enamel with a strong, safe material like metal or porcelain. Not all fillings require anesthesia to numb the area, especially if the cavity is minor; your Amherst pediatric dentist will determine how severe the decay is and the best way to treat it. In some cases, where the decay cannot be effectively a crown will be need be fitted over the visible part of tooth until it's ready to come out on its own.
How can I prevent tooth decay?
Even after your child is old enough to brush their own teeth, monitor your child's brushing and flossing techniques to make sure they're doing them correctly. Your Amherst pediatric dentist can show you the best practices for keeping your child's teeth healthy. Make sure they're using a soft-bristled toothbrush that is approved by the American Dental Association and non-abrasive toothpaste.
If you have any questions about the health of your child's teeth, Dr. Andrew Cheifetz and Dr. James McAveeney want to hear from you. Contact the Children's Dental Center of New Hampshire in Amherst, NH, today!