Prevent Cavities

Brooklyn Dentist

Children all over the world are susceptible to cavities (tooth decay). They are one of the most common dental conditions children have but left untreated, they can cause excruciating pain, further tooth decay, and periodontitis.

The main causes of cavities are sugary diets and poor oral hygiene. To help your child avoid cavities, ensure that they have a proper daily oral care routine and eat a balanced diet. Visiting the pediatric dentist bi-annually is another essential factor in keeping your child’s primary (baby) and permanent teeth strong, healthy, and pain-free.

How do cavities form?

Cavities are caused by excess sugars and carbohydrates that collect in the mouth after eating. The food particles that don’t get removed by brushing the teeth, flossing, and cleaning your gums and tongue will build up on tooth enamel in the form of a sticky film called plaque.

As you continue eating sugary foods, the plaque ingests more sugary particles and produces acid. This acid attacks the enamel on your teeth, making them vulnerable to tooth decay which is often found in the form of cavities. Without proper care and prevention, tooth enamel can erode to the point that the tooth’s base functions are damaged.


How to know if your child has a cavity?

Cavities can develop in both baby and permanent teeth. Even though baby teeth will eventually be replaced, they still perform important functions for your child and should be kept in good shape. Cavities come in all sizes, and when they are small, they can be difficult to see or even feel. Dental X-rays and a professional dental examination in Brooklyn, NY, can help spot small cavities and treat them before they get larger and more painful.

If your child experiences any of the following symptoms, they may have a cavity:

  • Toothaches and pain
  • Sensitivity to spicy foods
  • Sensitivity to cool or warm foods
  • Nighttime waking and crying

Children with these symptoms should be taken to the dentist as soon as possible. Don’t wait until their scheduled bi-annual visit to get their teeth checked and treated. Waiting too long to treat their cavities can jeopardize their teeth that could otherwise be easily fixed.

At the office, your Brooklyn pediatric dentist can correct cavities and prevent future cavities from forming by providing sealant and fluoride supplements that boost the mouth’s defenses and strengthen tooth enamel.


How to prevent cavities?

While regularly taking your child to the dentist is key to good oral health, trips to the dentist are only one of the many ways you can prevent your child from developing cavities. Look at the following list to see how you can prevent cavities at home:

  1. Limit snack breaks – Children are exposed to unnecessary sugars each time they eat snacks. Cut back on how many snacks they eat throughout the day and save the sugars and starches for mealtimes when they can drink plenty of water and produce more saliva.
  2. Rethink their diet – Take a look at what your child eats daily. Replace sugary and starchy foods with natural foods. Similarly, replace sodas and sugary juices with water.
  3. Avoid sticky foods – Sticky foods stick to the teeth and lead to a faster buildup of plaque.
  4. Keep their pacifier clean – Oral bacteria can build up on surfaces over time, so it’s important to thoroughly wash the things that go into your child’s mouth. Avoid putting their pacifier into your mouth to prevent bacteria transmission.
  5. No sweet pacifiers – Parents with cranky babies can be prone to dip pacifiers in honey to calm them down. This can easily lead to painful cavities, so avoid this practice, no matter how tempting.
  6. No drinks at bedtime – Children who have a cup of milk, juice, or formula at their bedside through the night are more prone to cavities, as the sugar from their drink sits on their teeth the entire night. Give them water instead or have them brush their teeth after drinking.
  7. Don’t use a sippy cup – Sippy cups let out a small amount of liquid with each sip, prolonging the drinking process, and continually swirling the liquid around the teeth. Children over the age of 12 months are not intended to use sippy cups.
  8. Use the proper amount of fluoride – Fluoride is a natural mineral that strengthens tooth enamel and prevents cavities. Too much fluoride and too little fluoride are both dangerous, so talk to your pediatric dentist about how much fluoride is right for your child.
  9. Brush and floss daily – Impart in your child a routine of brushing and flossing twice a day. Help your child with this until they are seven. Younger children find cleaning every part of their mouth a challenge.
  10. Visit the dentist – According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), children from the age of one should visit the dentist bi-annually to ensure that their teeth are developing properly.

To express your questions or concerns about cavity prevention and treatment in Brooklyn, NY, contact Brooklyn Dentist. Our Brooklyn dentists and dental hygienists are happy to help

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