1. If you remove the bacteria, acid and sugars from your mouth, it is impossible to get cavities? This can be done by eating a healthy, low-carbohydrate diet, avoiding snacks between meals, and brushing and flossing regularly.
2. Dental cavities are considered a disease? They are, in fact, the most common chronic disease of childhood, and cause more school absences than any other childhood disease.
3. The complaint, “I get cavities because I have soft teeth,” is a myth? The fact is that everyone’s teeth are made out of the same mineral, hydroxyapatite. Cavities are caused by bacteria (Strep Mutans) and acids that wear away the mineral from your teeth. It is possible, however, that your parents may have passed the bacteria on to you by sharing foods, etc. So, although you can’t blame genetics, you might still be able to blame your parents!
4. Chewing gum by parents can help keep 1-3 year olds from getting cavities? Really! Studies show that when parents maintain good oral health, including chewing gum with xylitol (a sugar substitute) during this period, it helps prevent the passing on of the bacteria known to cause most cavities.
5. Periodontal (gum) disease increases your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pneumonia and unhealthy pregnancies due to periodontal bacteria entering your bloodstream! Your oral health really does affect your overall health.
Caring for kids…
1. For children, untreated cavities can cause pain, dysfunction, school absences, difficulty concentrating, and poor appearance – problems that greatly affect a child’s quality of life and ability to succeed.
2. It is recommended that your baby make their first dental visit between the eruption of their first tooth and their first birthday.
3. It is very important to take care of baby teeth because the bacteria that cause cavities can move from baby teeth to adult teeth.
4. People who learn to prevent cavities as a kid are much more likely to prevent cavities as an adult!
1. Before age 3, a parent should do the brushing for a child. At around age 3 you can start to encourage your kids to join in with brushing, under your supervision, using a small, circular brushing motion (you should still follow by brushing their teeth yourself). You should continue to help your child brush their teeth until around age 7 or 8, when they have the dexterity to brush effectively on their own.
2. Brush 2 times per day (morning and night), spend at least 2 minutes brushing (cavities usually form first on the chewing surfaces and back teeth, so pay special attention back there), use a suitable sized, soft toothbrush, don’t share brushes between kids, and start cleaning between your kids’ teeth as early as possible (if there are spaces, which is common with baby teeth, flossing may be difficult, so you can use other devices such as interproximal brushes).
3. Make sure your kids see you brushing your own teeth and make a point of showing off your shiny clean teeth. Let your kids know that it is a treat and a privilege to have a shiny smile. Encourage your kids to show off their own smiles, once their teeth are clean.
Stuff to avoid
1. Carbonated sugary and or acidic sodas are a significant cause of cavities for individuals of all ages. Sipping all day on such drinks is much worse that consuming them all at once. If you do drink this type of beverage, it’s best to limit doing so to meal times. Even better, choose milk or water. Remember: Sip all day, get decay!
2. Smoking cigarettes is one of the greatest contributors to an unhealthy mouth. Smoking contributes to the development of cavities and periodontal (gum) disease, and can also cause potentially life-threatening diseases such as oral and lung cancers.
3. Thumb sucking. As a general rule, all sucking habits should be stopped by 5 years of age, otherwise damage to the alignment of the permanent teeth may occur
1. The mineral fluorine, from which fluoride is derived, is the 13th most abundant element on earth and is released into the environment naturally in both water and air.
2. Fluoride works in at least four ways to protect teeth from forming cavities. First, it is incorporated into teeth when small amounts are swallowed daily while the teeth are forming. This helps your mouth to withstand more acidic attacks. Second, fluoride becomes concentrated in the outer enamel surface when it’s applied after teeth erupt (such as via toothpaste, mouth rinse or fluoride varnishes). This further prevents demineralization. Third, saliva can act as a fluoride reservoir to speed up remineralization following an attack. Finally, fluoride interferes with the bacteria on teeth that cause cavities. It is able to block the bacteria’s digestion of sugars so that less acid is produced, thus further slowing decay.
3. One of the “Ten Greatest” public health achievements of the 20th Century, according to the Center for Disease Control is the Water Fluoridation Program.
4. According to a study by the Center for Disease Control, every $1 invested in community water fluoridation programs yields $38 in savings for the community every year from fewer cavities needing to be treated.
Together we can make a difference
25% of kids age 5 – 17 get 80% of the cavities! If we can prevent the cavities in these kids, we would significantly decrease the number of cavities in America. The sad thing is that often times the kids who fall in this category are also the ones who have limited access to a dentist. That is one of the many reasons that we are committed to improving access to care through our sliding fees and other programs. Together, we can make a difference.