Dental caries, commonly known as cavities, are an extremely common oral health condition. When the external surfaces of teeth are damaged by exposure to acid, harmful oral bacteria eat through the structures of teeth. Although teeth are living tissues, they do not heal after injury like other parts of the body. For this reason, cavities must be treated with restorative dentistry to stop the spread of decay and protect teeth from extensive damage. Our pediatric dentist strives to prevent the development of cavities through oral health education, fluoride treatments, and dental sealants.
The first line of defense against tooth decay is adopting a proper oral hygiene regimen. Children should brush their teeth after meals for a minimum of two minutes each time. Flossing should also be conducted once a day among elementary-aged children. During cleanings and checkups, our team provides dental education that includes easy-to-understand instructions for caring for teeth and gums at home.
In conjunction with regular checkups and cleanings, our pediatric dentist may prescribe fluoride treatments and dental sealants to safeguard against cavities. Fluoride treatments come in the form of a flavored foam or varnish and help remineralize tooth enamel. Since fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral, it helps strengthen tooth enamel by attracting other minerals to the surface of teeth.
Dental sealants are primarily used to protect molars. Because these teeth are located at the back of the mouth, they are often difficult for children to keep clean. Furthermore, molars typically possess pits and grooves where bacteria tend to collect. Since molars are more susceptible to decay, dental sealants fill in the pits of molars with a cavity-resistant plastic compound. Applying dental sealants to teeth involves brushing the sealant along the biting surface of the tooth in liquid form and then hardening it with a special light.
Our team strongly encourages parents and caregivers to schedule bi-annual cleanings and checkups so that decay is detected in its earliest stages. To learn more about cavity prevention or to schedule an appointment, contact Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry at 817-569-6633 today.