February is Children’s Dental Month

Children's Health Month

How to reverse tooth decay and avoid a cavity:

You probably know that a dental cavity is a hole in a tooth.  But did you know that a cavity is the result of the tooth decay process that happens over time?  Did you know that you can interrupt and even reverse this process to avoid a cavity?

Tooth decay is the result of an infection with certain types of bacteria that use sugars in food to make acids. Over time, these acids can make a cavity in the tooth. When a tooth is exposed to acid frequently-for example, if you eat or drink often, especially foods or drinks containing sugar and starches-the repeated cycles of acid attacks cause the enamel to continue to lose minerals. A white spot may appear where minerals have been lost. This is a sign of early decay. But if the tooth decay process continues, more minerals are lost.  Over time, the enamel is weakened and destroyed, forming a cavity.  A cavity is permanent damage that a dentist has to repair with a filling.

How can we help teeth avoid a cavity:

Use Fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that can prevent tooth decay from progressing.  It can even reverse, or stop, early tooth decay. Fluoride prevents mineral loss in tooth enamel and replaces lost minerals. Reduces the ability of bacteria to make acid.

You get fluoride by:

  • Drinking fluoridated water from a community water supply
  • Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Apply a fluoride gel or varnish to tooth surfaces
  • Prescribe fluoride tablets
  • Recommend using a fluoride mouth rinse

Limit between –meal snacks.  This reduces the number of acid attacks on teeth and gives teeth a chance to repair themselves. Save candy, cookies, soda, and other sugary drinks for special occasions. Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and an examination.

 

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