What is fluoride and why does my child need it?
Dental fluoride is a natural mineral that protects teeth from cavities and helps heal early tooth decay.
What are dental sealants and why does my child need them?
Sealants are thin plastic coatings that dentists paint onto the chewing surfaces of posterior teeth. Sealant application is a quick and painless procedure. The most important reason for getting sealants is to avoid tooth decay. Tooth brushing alone cannot effectively reach the pits and deep grooves of back teeth. Sealants can help prevent cavities by sealing over the rough surfaces of back teeth where food and germs often get stuck.
What can I do at home to prevent cavities?
- Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing at least two times a day for two minutes each time. It is important to brush all surfaces of the teeth. This includes the front, back and biting surfaces. Do not forget to brush the gums as well because plaque likes to hide at the border where your teeth meet your gums. If your child is able to spit (typically by age three), we strongly encourage that your child use fluoride toothpaste.
- Maintain a healthy diet that does not have a lot of sugar and limit the amount of snacking between meals to twice a day. Eat sweets and juices (many juices are high in sugar!) with meals, not as snacks, because the increased flow of saliva during meals helps wash away and dilute sugars. You can reduce the length of time that sweet food stays in contact with your teeth by avoiding sipping sugared beverages over a long period of time, sucking on candy or chewing sugared gum.
- Make sure to schedule your child's first dental visit by age one and be sure to return for regular check-ups every 6 months!