in Richmond, VA
Prevention is KEY! Throughout your visits, Dr. North and her team will offer tips and tricks to help prevent cavities in your child’s teeth!
Tips to Preventing Cavities
Here are some of our important recommendations and some information to understanding cavities.
- Drink water with fluoride
- Brush with fluoride toothpaste 2 times a day for 2 minutes each time
- Stay away from sugary foods and drinks, like candies, soda, and juice, no more than 4 oz of juice per day is recommended. Don’t sip or eat on them all day. If your child is going to eat or drink things that are sweet, do so at mealtimes.
- Limit sweet snacks between meals
- Clean between your child’s teeth daily by flossing
- For infants, do not give milk/juice or anything other than water at night time to drink ad-lib, after feeding at night wipe teeth, bring your child for their first visit with us by their 1st birthday
- Visit us regularly every 6 months
- Sealants can be placed on back teeth to better protect them from bacteria causing cavities in the grooves.
Did you know tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body? Enamel is the protective outer layer of our teeth. Bacteria in our mouths use the sugar we eat to make acids which can wear away this protective layer, forming a cavity. Once enamel is gone, it does not grow back. This is why Dr. North and her team are always telling you to brush with fluoride toothpaste and clean between your teeth! You can learn more about cavities and how to prevent them below.
What Is A Cavity?
A cavity is a hole in the tooth. A cavity in an early stage can look like a white spot, which can be healed. Over time, it will look like a brown or black spot. Cavities can be tiny or big. Cavities can form in many places, but they often form on the tops of teeth where you bite and in between teeth where food gets stuck. Cavities that are not fixed can cause sensitivity, pain, infections, and can even cause your child to lose teeth. The best way to keep you and your child’s teeth and keep them healthy is to prevent cavities.
What Causes Cavities?
Do you or your child’s teeth ever feel “fuzzy” after a meal? Do they notice when after brushing and flossing this fuzzy feeling goes away? When we don’t brush and floss, the bacteria and foods we eat build up and form a sticky substance called plaque (plak).
Throughout the day, bacteria feed off the foods we eat. When we eat or drink sugar, the bacteria in our mouths use it to live and make acid. This acid stays on our teeth and attacks the outer surface of our teeth. Over time, the acid wears down our teeth, causing a cavity.
To understand how a cavity forms, let’s look at what makes up a tooth. Enamel is the outside hard covering that protects our teeth. Below the enamel is the dentin. Dentin is not as hard as enamel. This makes it easier for cavities to spread and get bigger. Below the dentin is the pulp. The pulp is where the nerves and blood supply for the tooth live.
If a cavity is not fixed, the bacteria can travel from the enamel to the dentin and can reach the pulp. If the bacteria from the cavity get into the pulp, it becomes an infection.
Dental infections can be serious and life-threatening if not treated. See Dr. North right away if you notice any of the following for your child:
- Swelling on their face or in their mouth
- Redness in or around their mouth
- Pain in their mouth
- Bad taste in their mouth
Who Is At Risk for Cavities?
Children, teens, and adults can all be at risk for getting cavities. You or your child might be at increased risk if they:
- Snack between meals
- Eat sugary foods and drinks
- Have a personal and/or family history of cavities
- Have cracked or chipped teeth
- Take medications that cause dry mouth (such as asthma medications)
- Have had head or neck radiation therapy
How Are Cavities Treated?
Cavities should be treated by a dentist like Dr. North. A dentist is trained to see cavities. A cavity in an early stage can be repaired with fluoride. If the cavity is deeper, the only fix may be for Dr. North to remove the cavity and fill the area with a white-colored material. If a tooth has a large cavity, it might need more complicated treatment such as a crown and/or pulpotomy.
Request Your Appointment Today!
At Bitty Bites Pediatric Dentistry, we make it convenient to plan your visit. Click the link to request an appointment time that fits your busy schedule. We can't wait to see you!