Our littles ones have such sweet smiles, but be warned, parents: even baby teeth need special care and attention! How can you stop cavities in their tracks to keep your child smiling as they grow? Today Dr. Mauro from North Hills Family Dental wants to debunk popular myths about cavities to help moms keep their children smiling for a lifetime.
Cavities: Are You Confusing Myths From Facts?
When it comes to cavities, you’re likely to be surprised by some of the myths we’re about to bust–from how children get cavities, to prevention. We’re replacing them with truth. After all, knowledge is the key to success, so by the time you finish reading this, you’ll be well armed to raise cavity free tykes!
Myth: Brushing Is The #1 Way To Prevent Cavities
Skipping out on brushing and flossing will of course lead to a buildup of plaque, which can lead to decay, but the real culprit here is diet!
Fact: More and more preschoolers are experiencing tooth decay related to the increase in sugar showing up in their diets. From juices to crackers, sugar is added in just about all processed foods on supermarket shelves today. Even with regular brushing and flossing, a child who snacks on sugary foods can spend hours with the traces of sugars and carbohydrates on their gums and teeth.
And when sugar meets the bacteria present in all of our mouths, it triggers the production of an acid that eats a hole through the tooth enamel. And voila…a cavity is formed!
Tip: Do a clean sweep of the foods that go into your children’s mouths–if it’s high in sugar…toss it out! Having a conversation with your family about healthy eating habits may save you a trip to the emergency dentist down the road!
Myth: All Cavities Hurt
It surprises most people to learn that pain is the final symptom of a cavity! Typically, tooth decay does not hurt–it’s a silent process, which is why dental hygiene and attending routine checkups is a must in your kiddo’s life! Once the tooth decay has reached the tooth nerve to trigger discomfort, the cavity has reached an advanced stage, and your little one may have a toothache.
Fact: You don’t have to wait to be in pain to seek treatment for a cavity. The longer tooth decay is left to do damage to a tooth, the more complex it may be to treat. Without care, a toothache you thought was a simple cavity could be something more, like a root canal.
Tip: Make professional cleanings a regular part of your family’s life. Twice a year, your family dentist will remove the excess bacteria and plaque that contributes to decay and cavities. The effectiveness of your toothbrush is without a doubt a proactive step in maintaining good oral health, but does not hold a candle to the power of a professional cleaning every six months!
Myth: Babies Can’t Get Cavities
Your family dentist will recommend that you make an appointment as soon as that first little pearly white appears through the gum. No matter if they’re baby teeth or your child has had adult teeth for years, tooth enamel of all ages is vulnerable to decay!
Fact: The ADA recommends that you take your child to the dentist after his or her first tooth emerges or by their first birthday–whichever comes first. Treating cavities even in baby teeth is essential to preventing premature tooth loss or decay and to protect the healthy formation of your child’s smile throughout their lifetime.
Tip: Switch your baby’s nighttime drinks to water–don’t send him or her to bed with juice or milk. The sugars found even in a Vitamin-rich fruit juice will coat their teeth all night long, and lead to decay. If your baby hasn’t developed teeth yet, get into the practice to occasionally wipe a soft, damp cloth gently along your baby’s gums to remove debris and bacteria.
Myth: Sensitive Teeth Are A Sign Of Cavities
Is your daughter or son grimacing while eating ice cream, or wincing when sipping hot chocolate? Don’t be alarmed: sensitivity is not a direct symptom of tooth decay.
Fact: While decay, such as in the form of a cracked tooth or root canal,can lead to sensitivity,your children may just be predisposed to have very sensitive teeth. Are sensitive teeth normal? Well, in some cases, tooth sensitivity is a hereditary trait.
Your family dentist can detect subtle changes in oral health. When it comes to protecting your child from sensitive teeth, consider asking your family dentist about preventive dental sealants and a desensitizing toothpaste. Maintaining a commitment to professional cleanings will also keep you steps ahead of tooth decay and cavities!
Curious About Cavity Prevention?
At North Hills Family Dental, the health of your children and family- is our top priority. If you would like to learn more about tooth decay and prevention, or may be interested in our general, restorative or cosmetic dental care, you can find out more by visiting our website northhillsfamilydental.com, by giving us a call, or by stopping by our office:
9401 McKnight Rd #307
Pittsburgh, PA 15237