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Cavities 101

Last updated 5 years ago

Your child’s dental health at an early age plays an important role in the development of his permanent smile. While brushing and flossing are essential for healthy teeth, other factors can contribute to cavity formation. Regular visits to your pediatric dentist will empower you and your child with the knowledge you need for cavity-free dental exams.

What Are Cavities?
Cavities, or tooth decay, are areas of the tooth that have been worn away. This decay is caused by acids that are a byproduct of the bacteria mutans streptococci, which live inside the mouth’s dental plaque. These bacteria feed on the sugars and carbohydrates that your child eats, producing acid that slowly damages the structure of the teeth. As the protective enamel is destroyed, bacteria can enter the tooth and cause further decay and infection if the cavity is not treated by your pediatric dentist.

How Can You Prevent Cavities? 
The amount of bacteria in your child’s mouth affects his risk for cavity development. Avoid sharing utensils, glasses, and toothbrushes, as you can transfer cavity-causing bacteria from your mouth to your child’s. Regular oral hygiene removes bacteria and acids from the teeth before they can cause harm. Clean your baby’s gums gently with a warm, damp washcloth. Once his teeth erupt, brush them twice a day. Encourage flossing once your child develops adjacent teeth, and use fluoride toothpaste after your child turns two. Children can brush and floss without assistance around the age of seven. Your child’s diet should be low in sugars, including natural sources of sugar such as fruit juices. Fluoride helps to strengthen the teeth, lowering your child’s susceptibility to cavities. Ask your pediatric dentist about fluoride rinses or supplements for cavity protection, especially if your child drinks bottled water rather than fluoridated community water.

You can learn more about cavity prevention for your child by calling Adelberg Montalvan Pediatric Dentistry of Long Island at (516) 798-1111. We offer pediatric dentistry services with a focus on improving your child’s life with a healthy smile. Visit us on the web to learn more about your child’s dental development.


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