We left off last week with the first three tips to help you and your children prevent cavities. Let’s pick right up where we left off:
5 More Simple Tips for Preventing Cavities
#4: Fluoride Toothpaste, Mouthwash, and Treatments
Fluoride is in most of the tap water in the US, but these days, many people drink bottled water, so they miss out on the benefits of fluoridated water. We encourage patients of all ages to drink tap water, use fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash, and undergo quick fluoride treatments at dental cleanings.
Fluoride attracts the enamel-strengthening minerals calcium and phosphorus. These minerals keep enamel strong, which helps deter cavities. Children who drink a small amount of fluoride, like what’s in tap water, have the benefit of improving enamel in permanent teeth that haven’t yet erupted or are still growing. Adults, however, only benefit when fluoride comes in direct contact with tooth enamel by way of rinses, pastes, tap water, and professional fluoride treatments.
#5: Dental Sealants for Kids
Clear, protective dental sealants painted onto kids’ molars fill crevices and pits where food and plaque tend to lodge. Sealants create a barrier against Streptococcus mutans, as well, to prevent cavities. We recommend sealants for kids up to age 14 who have permanent molars, and for some adults.
#6: Effectively Treat Acid Reflux (GERD)
Acid reflux afflicts 60 million Americans monthly, and up to 15 million daily. If you suffer from acid reflux, also called GERD (gastrointestinal reflux disease), the acid that comes up from your throat can erode back teeth. Thin, eroded enamel is more prone to cavities than strong enamel, so some GERD patients suffer from a high incidence of cavities.
Talk with your general physician or use an over-the-counter acid reducer to treat your condition. When GERD is brought under control, your oral health benefits.
#7: No Sodas or Energy Drinks
Enamel erosion has been a growing problem with children since sodas and more recently sports drinks became popular. When we down a soda or sports drink and then rinse with water, our oral health isn’t usually harmed. However, consuming sodas and energy drinks throughout the day or over the course of an hour or more subjects tooth enamel to long baths in sugars and acids. Both contribute to enamel erosion, which increases the risk of cavities.
Try sugar-free, non-carbonated drinks instead of harsh sodas and sports drinks. Sugar-free water flavoring provides a safer, healthier alternative. Flavorings come in packets (for water bottles), as well as small bottles to add drops to your water. A wide range of flavors, from tropical to iced tea, and from peach to watermelon.
#8: Always Attend Six-Month Checkups and Cleanings
Along with diligent oral home care, professional dental cleanings and checkups are imperative to achieving and maintaining good oral health. At a checkup, Dr. Bridges will evaluate your mouth: teeth, gums, jaws, tongue, and other soft oral tissues; as well as your head, neck, and jaw joints. If he finds cause for concern, like cavities or gingivitis, he’ll suggest treatment options.
At your cleanings, our dental hygienist will clean all plaque, tartar, and food debris from on and between your teeth. Then, the hygienist will polish your teeth to a silky-smooth finish that your tongue will love. In addition to cleaning, the hygienist records the pocket depths of your gums, to monitor gum health over time.
Gum disease affects half of the US population and is the main cause of adult tooth loss, so gum health is extremely important. Lastly, if you have questions about your home care routine or the products you use, the hygienist will be happy to help.
Let’s Fight Cavities Together
Call Chisholm Trail Smile Center in Duncan at 580.255.4880 to schedule a consultation, checkup, or cleaning with Dr. Bridges. Our entire team loves kids, so your little ones will feel well cared for in our office, as well.