Cavities are normally the result of a diet high in sugary foods and a lack of brushing and flossing. Therefore, brushing more and limiting sugar intake will help prevent cavities.
When a person eats, an acidic reaction takes place as bacteria digest the sugars. This reaction takes about 20 minutes. As this takes place, the acidic environment destroys the tooth structure, eventually leading to cavities.
A person’s saliva also plays a part in cavities. The thinner saliva is, the better it breaks up and washes away food. When foods high in carbohydrates and sugars are consumed, thicker saliva is produced, which in turn produces more of the acid-producing bacteria that causes cavities.
Some tips for cavity prevention:
- Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
- Encourage brushing teeth, flossing, and rinsing.
- Watch what you drink.
- Avoid foods that are sticky.
- Instead of treats being separate, make them part of a meal.
- Pick nutritious snacks.
- What are sealants?
A sealant is a plastic that bonds into the grooves of a tooth’s chewing surface to help prevent tooth decay.
- How do sealants work?
Often, it is impossible to clean in the deep grooves on teeth because the bristles of the toothbrush can’t reach the bottom of the grooves. With a sealant, the chewing surface becomes flatter and smoother. As a result, food, bacteria and plaque can be removed more easier, decreasing the chance of decay.
- What is the life expectancy of tooth sealants?
The lifespan of a sealant varies. If a sealant last three to five years, it is considered successful, but, sealants can last much longer. Sometimes sealants placed in childhood are still intact on the teeth of adults. Our office will check your child’s sealants during routine dental visits and will recommend repair or reapplication when necessary.
- Which teeth should be sealed?
Any tooth that is at a high risk of developing decay should be sealed. The most common teeth for a dentist to seal are a child’s back teeth, the permanent molars. However, where a sealant is placed is determined on a case-by-case basis.
- What is the procedure for placing sealants?
The procedure takes just one visit. In a simple process, the tooth is cleaned, conditioned, and dried. The sealant is then flowed onto the grooves of the tooth where it is hardened with a special blue light and then buffed. Afterwards, the mouth is ready for normal activities.
- How important is brushing and flossing after sealants are applied?
After getting a sealant, brushing and flossing are still just as important. Sealants are only one part of the battle against tooth decay.
- How much does it cost?
Sealant treatment is quite affordable, especially when you consider the value of protection against tooth decay. Most dental insurance companies cover the cost. Check with your insurance provider for coverage.
Fluoride strengthens teeth and prevents tooth decay. If your water supply does not have enough fluoride, your doctor may prescribe fluoride supplements (fluoride drops or pills). Another form of fluoride is over-the-counter mouthwashes. If your child is at risk for cavities and able to swish and spit, they may use a fluoride mouthwash daily.