In the majority of situations, tooth decay is completely preventable.
Cavities are a byproduct of type of bacterial infection. The specific bacteria most responsible for causing cavities is Streptococcus Mutans. This bacterium is present in every mouth on the planet. Parents pass it to children and every toddler erupting teeth has this bacterium in the oral cavity. It is fairly harmless on it’s own, but when left to replicate and form plaque accumulations, it can cause some pretty significant damage to teeth.
This particular bacteria has a “sweet tooth.” It consumes sugar for energy and creates an acid byproduct when it is done using the sugars that find their way into our mouths when we eat. Acids, as you can imagine, dissolves hard enamel. This “eats away” at tooth enamel, it creates a weak lesion that then erodes into a small hole. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to help your child prevent cavities before they start.
The incorporation of fluoride into municipal water supplies and toothpaste provides developing teeth with the minerals they need to combat tooth decay. If your child is especially prone to decay, we can prescribe a fluoride gel to use at home each night.
Normal tooth enamel is composed of a substance called hydroxyapatite. It is pretty strong on it’s own but adding fluoride nearby (toothpaste) and systemically (ingesting water) allows Fluoride to kick out an oxygen atom in the enamel molecules. When Fluoride binds with calcium and phosphate in our enamel matrix, it creates a super strong enamel that is more resistant to the effects of our diet and acid erosion.
Protective Dental Sealants
Sealants are protective coatings that go over the deep chewing surfaces, grooves, and pits on the back teeth. The thin layer prevents food and bacteria from settling into crevices too narrow for a toothbrush bristle to clean.
Enhanced Oral Hygiene
Preventative dental care has given younger generations a leg up on combatting tooth decay. With the implementation of electric toothbrushes, disclosing agents that show our patients where they missed while brushing and parent education children don’t have to suffer the same toothaches or dental emergencies that their parents or grandparents might have gone through in the past.
Why Routine Dental Exams are Essential
No matter how good your oral hygiene habits and dietary choices are, there will still be opportunities for tooth decay to creep in unexpectedly. Especially between back teeth (molars) if flossing isn’t a daily routine.
Scheduling a regular dental exam and cleaning every six months allows us to intercept tooth decay at the earliest stages. That way we can repair the small cavity with a modest filling before the decay spreads elsewhere. We’ll equip you with the information you need to eliminate decay before it starts and help to prevent future problems if we detect incipient cavities are forming.
Reserve a checkup for your child twice a year to give them a head start on childhood’s most common disease: cavities.
About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan has specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. We have the ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs as we have treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options. We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.