Prevent Cavities This Halloween!

Every year during Halloween, kids are reminded of their love for sugary treats. Although candy is delicious, it’s important to remind your kids that foods that are high in sugar contribute to painful cavities. Did you know that up to 42% of children ages 2-11 years old have had cavities in their baby teeth? This fact alone illustrates the importance of maintaining pediatric dental hygiene. At the end of the day, we want all of our patients to be healthy and happy.

What is a cavity?

A cavity (also known as tooth decay) develops when an area of tooth weakens and forms a small opening or hole in the tooth. Cavities are caused by a multitude of factors including sugary foods, hygiene neglect, and/or improper education on proper brushing techniques. In some cases, cavities may cause severe tooth pain. Other symptoms typically include the following:

  • Temperature sensitivity
  • A Toothache
  • Pain upon biting down
  • Holes or “pits” that you can see
  • Discoloration (Brown, black or white staining) of the tooth

Are there ways to prevent cavities?

Thankfully, cavities are preventable. The following measures should be taken to protect your child’s oral health:

  • Fluoride Treatment
    • This is a protective coating that is applied to the teeth painlessly and quickly. Most types of fluoride are available in different kid-friendly flavors.
  • Sealant
    • Sealants are great for protecting the teeth- especially the back teeth where food particles and bacteria tend to build up. A sealant is a clear protective coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Sealant generally lasts for years.
  • Visit the dentist
    • The key to maintaining proper oral hygiene is to visit your dentist every six months. This allows the dentist to evaluate your child’s teeth as well as keep them clean and protected. Often times, patients don’t even know they have a cavity if it is relatively small!
    • Not only does our pediatric dentist prevent and treat cavities, but she also educates her patients on how to properly brush and floss their teeth. This is vital to achieving and maintaining a healthy mouth.
  • Fluoridated water
    • Drinking water that contains fluoride in it can help to strengthen your child’s enamel.

How are they treated?

If caught early enough, enamel can be restored with a fluoride treatment at the dentist’s office. The fluoride that the dentist uses has a much higher concentration than fluoride in toothpaste and water supplies. In other cases, the following treatments are considered:

  • Fillings
    • Cavities are cleaned out and the tooth is then filled with a material to prevent further decay.
  • Root Canal
    • This mode of treatment is used when the cavity decays further into the nerve of the tooth. This treatment is done to save a severely damaged tooth from being extracted.

Complications associated with untreated tooth decay

If tooth decay is not treated, several complications can occur. The tooth can cause severe pain upon chewing and impede upon your child’s nutrition. Sometimes the tooth must be extracted which may negatively affect self-esteem. In some cases, an abscess can develop from an infection resulting in greater, sometimes life-threatening complications.

Advanced Children’s Dentistry is proud to treat pediatric patients from Nassau County, Suffolk County, and the Greater New York City Area. Dr. Sybil is our highly-regarded pediatric dentist who provides her little patients with exceptional care. Schedule your child’s dental appointment at 516-758-KIDS to prevent cavities this Halloween!

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