Tooth Decay Prevention

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v-pediatric2.jpgTooth decay is a progressive disease resulting in the interaction of bacteria that naturally occur on the teeth and sugars in the everyday diet. As a local children’s dentist here in Kahala, HI, Dr. Allen Hirai definitely wants to make sure we are able to catch tooth decay early. What exactly is tooth decay? Sugar causes a reaction in the bacteria, causing it to produce acids that break down the mineral in teeth, forming the much-dreaded cavity. Dentists remove the decay and fill the tooth using a variety of fillings, restoring the tooth to a healthy state. Nerve damage can result from severe decay and may require a crown. How do you help your child avoid tooth decay? The answer is really simple, strict adherence to a dental hygiene regimen including:

  • Brushing and Flossing
  • Regular Dental Checkups
  • Diet Control
  • Fluoride Treatment

Sealants

The grooves and depressions that form the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are extremely difficult to clean of all the bacteria and food that gets on them. As the bacteria reacts with the food, acids form and break down the tooth enamel, causing cavities. Recent studies indicate that 88 percent of total cavities in American school children are caused this way. Tooth sealants protect these susceptible areas by sealing the grooves and depressions, preventing bacteria and food particles from residing in these areas. Sealant material is a resin typically applied to the back teeth, molars and premolars and areas prone to cavities. It lasts for several years but needs to be checked during regular appointments.

Fluoride

Fluoride is a substance that helps teeth become stronger and resistant to decay. Surprisingly you can even drink water treated with fluoride. Drinking fluoride treated water along with regular oral hygiene habits, such as bushing and flossing will reduce the number of cavities in your mouth.

Thumbsucking

Thumbsucking is a natural reflex that relaxes and comforts babies and toddlers. This goes on typically until the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt in childhood. Thumb sucking therefore can be dangerous if it persists past a certain age, typically age 4 at the latest, as it can cause misaligned teeth.

Make an Appointment

The best way to prevent tooth decay is to take your child to a dentist regularly. Dr. Allen Hirai can assess your child’s dental health and correct any problems or bad habits early on. Book your appointment today either by giving us a call or an e-mail. We can’t wait to see you and your child at our Kahala, HI office!