Posted by: Javier Portocarrero
If you had to guess which chronic ailment children suffer from the most, what would you say? Asthma? Food allergies? Actually, it’s cavities. According to experts, cavities are 5 times more common than asthma among children.
Luckily, cavities are largely preventable, especially if you take your child to see an experienced Mesa, AZ dentist like Dr. Portocarrero. Here are some of the preventative methods that dentists use to help young patients keep cavities at bay:
As its name implies, fluoride treatment involves a dentist coating your child’s teeth with a layer of fluoride. Why is this necessary? An article from Kids Health explains:
“Fluoride helps because, when teeth are growing, it mixes with tooth enamel — that hard coating on your teeth. That prevents tooth decay, or cavities. But fluoride can help even after your teeth are formed. It works with saliva to protect tooth enamel from plaque and sugars. By using fluoride toothpaste, for instance, everyone can enjoy some cavity protection. Fewer cavities means healthier teeth when you’re an adult — and less chance of having to wear false teeth (dentures) when you’re old!”
Typically, fluoride treatment is best applied once his or her milk teeth have erupted. The fluoride will help protect milk teeth and aid the development of permanent teeth. Once all the permanent teeth have settled in, another round of fluoride is advised.
Sealants are a thin plastic covering applied to teeth. The plastic acts like a shield and prevents debris and plaque from reaching the grooves of the teeth and causing tooth decay. Ideally, sealants should be applied as soon as your child’s molars have appeared. Sealants typically last for 10 years before they need to be replaced.
In most cases, your child’s bi-annual visit to a Mesa dentist will result in a routine cleaning. This is an important method for preventing cavities because the dentist will remove any debris or plaque build-up that your child’s toothbrush couldn’t clear.
Take note that while these methods were presented as solutions for preventing cavities in children, these methods are also highly recommended for adults. Don’t forget that cavities can strike anyone at any time, so it’s best to be prepared.
(Source: How Does Fluoride Work?; Kids Health)