Dental Sealants and Your Child: Here is What You Need to Know
Worrying about tooth decay in your children probably isn’t at the top of your concerns, however, this is a problem that affects 42% of children ages 2 to 11. In fact, nearly 28% of children ages 2 to 5 develop at least one cavity.
We want all our patients to have happy, healthy smiles so we put together this handy guide for parents on how they can prevent tooth decay in children and what they can expect if their little one develops a cavity.
What Causes Tooth Decay in children?
Tooth decay is caused when bacteria in the mouth begin to eat away at the primary teeth. This can happen due to:
- Inadequate dental care
- Not brushing your teeth
- Going to bed with a bottle (baby bottle tooth decay)
- Too many sugary treats
You can prevent cavities before they happen
Although this is a somewhat common problem in children, there are a few things you can do to prevent tooth decay in the first place.
- Limit sweets. Sweets every once in a while is just fine as let’s be honest, no one can resist them always! But it’s best to limit these sweet treats as they help bacteria to grow and can lead to tooth decay.
- Proper brushing technique. Brush with fluoride toothpaste and use only a pea-sized amount. Learn more about proper brushing techniques.
- Visit the dentist regularly. It’s best to visit the dentist twice a year to make sure your child doesn’t have cavities or tooth decay. Once the back molars grow in, Dr. Payam will probably recommend applying dental sealants to help even more in cavity prevention.
What to expect if your child has Tooth Decay
If your child develops tooth decay, they will require dental work. This can range from a filling to correct smaller cavities, to a full crown for extensive damage. These procedures are necessary to prevent the bacteria from spreading and leading to more decay.
The fact that your child’s teeth will fall out doesn’t mean that you can ignore problems like tooth decay. If the decay is severe enough, it can damage the permanent teeth underneath. This is also the prime time to lay down the groundwork for good dental hygiene that your child will carry with them for the rest of their life.
Schedule your appointment today with Dr. Payam to get started on the path to great dental health!
Pros and cons of Dental Sealants
If you are considering getting dental sealants for your child, check out our list of pro’s and con’s so that you can be more informed. Contact Dr. Payam if you want your child to have the best dental sealants in Stafford, Va.
Significantly reduces the chance of a child getting cavities
Dental sealants prevent plaque and bacteria from getting into the grooves of the back teeth that even a toothbrush has trouble cleaning which helps limit the chance of cavities
Dental Sealants are cheaper than filling cavities
Filling a cavity on average can cost up to four times as much as applying a dental sealant does!
The process is quick and painless
Dental sealants are easy for a dentist to apply and the process is completely painless. The dentist will clean the tooth and then brush the coating on top of the tooth, covering the groves that are hard to clean. View our Dental Sealants video to learn more.
Dental Sealants are not a solution to existing cavities
If a child already has a cavity on a tooth, dental sealants are not helpful. They are a preventative measure that will reduce the risk of cavities on a tooth but are not the solution if one is already present.
The rare chance that a cavity may be covered under the sealant
There is a very small possibility that an unnoticed cavity is covered by a sealant, but the sealant would deprive the cavity of the bacteria that would make it grow so it will not get any larger.
They don’t last forever
Dental sealants last on average 10 years because they are eventually worn down through the use of the tooth. This means they need to be reapplied around this time to make sure that they are truly protecting the tooth for bacteria.
Still have questions about Dental Sealants? Here are 5 fun facts!
Protect against cavities
Dental Sealants help protect a child’s teeth from cavities by covering the top of their tooth with a “tooth-colored” plastic that makes it difficult for bacteria to remain on a tooth. As a result of the dental sealants, the bacteria cannot attack the enamel of a child’s tooth.
Useful to any child
Even if a child brushes twice a day, that does not mean that they are completely safe from developing cavities. The grooves in a tooth are a place where bacteria love to sit and attack the tooth. The average toothbrush is unable to get deep into these grooves, so the bacteria is not removed no matter how often a child brushes. Dental sealants are an extra layer of protection to make sure each tooth stays as healthy as possible.
Quick and painless process
Applying dental sealants is a relatively fast and pain-free process. First, the dentist will clean the child’s tooth and apply a sticky solution so that the sealant can bind tightly to the tooth. Next, the dentist will coat the tooth with a sealant and use a light to harden it. The drying process will take under a minute and then the tooth is sealed!
Dental sealants can last around 10 years depending on the brushing patterns and eating patterns of the child. That is a long time to have a highly reduced chance of tooth decay!
Saves money on future cavities
Filling cavities can cost almost 4 times as much as purchasing dental sealants. Many dental plans also cover dental sealants. Why pay more for fillings in the future when a tooth can be protected with dental sealants now? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Payam today!
Although baby teeth are not permanent, it is incredibly important that they stay healthy until they fall out to make room for adult teeth.
Cavities in toddlers and infants are known as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. These cavities can prevent children from having strong teeth to chew their food with, and can also cause tooth pain or sensitivity.
What causes Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is most common in a child’s upper teeth, particularly in the front. However, it is possible in other places as well. These cavities can be caused by a number of things, most common of which is overexposure to sugary drinks. If a baby is usually put down for bed with a bottle in its mouth, or a bottle is commonly used to quiet a fussy baby, they are likely to get cavities in those front upper teeth, hence the name. Cavity-causing bacteria can also be passed from the mother to the baby through bacteria in the mother’s saliva. The bacteria slowly wear away at a baby’s teeth, causing decay in the long run.
Thankfully, there are several ways to prevent your baby from having Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. First and foremost, it is vital to avoid passing bacteria to the baby. Do not lick your child’s spoons or put anything in your mouth that will later go into your baby’s mouth. You can also use a washcloth to wipe any baby food or milk from your baby’s gums after feeding. Once their baby teeth start to come in, use a baby toothbrush to gently brush your baby’s teeth, using a dab of fluoride toothpaste. After the age of 3, you can start using slightly more toothpaste, about the size of a pea. Use bottles for milk or formula only. If you put your child to bed with a bottle, it is especially important to avoid filling it with juice, soda, or any other sugary drink.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay can be painful and prevent children from having strong, healthy teeth. These cavities can be caused by many things, such as sugary drinks and shared saliva.
Thankfully, it is completely preventable by brushing your child’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste often, and teaching your child healthy dental habits once they are old enough to brush their teeth by themselves.
If you have any questions about Tooth Decay or Dental Sealants for your child, don’t hesitate to contact our office directly!