The 3 F's of a Healthy Mouth

Many people have heard that children no longer have cavities. It is true; many children do not have cavities, but 50% still do. In fact, 80% of the cavities nationwide are found in 20% of children. In many children, the first cavities occur at about 6 years of age when the first permanent molars erupt and the spaces close between the back teeth. Suddenly, the teeth contact, food collects, flossing is not done, and cavities start.

We have found cavities on your child?s teeth. These cavities are either in the grooves on the biting surfaces or in between teeth as noted on the cavity decaying x-rays. The tendency to develop this type of cavity can be a life long problem. There are numerous factors that contribute to the development of cavities.

Many of these factors are out of control; for example, the makeup of your child?s saliva, the shape of their teeth, and the type of cavity producing bacteria in their mouth. However, a number of contributing factors can be controlled. These include the amount of plaque buildup on the teeth, the types of food that are consumed, and exposure to fluorides. In order to minimize or prevent these cavities from continuing to develop, we recommend the following; the 3 F?s:

1) Flossing - this should be performed EVERY NIGHT after brushing. Most children are unable to perform this adequately without your assistance. Floss aids such as Johnson & Johnson?s Wild Flossers, Oral B Floss Aid, Butler Flossmate, or the Glide Flosspick make it fun and easy to perform.

2) Fluoride - rinse with a topical fluoride rinse such as ACT or Fluorigard or brush on a prescription high-potency fluoride gel after nighttime brushing and flossing. Also, apply fluoride containing sealants on the surfaces of the permanent molars.

3) Foods- avoid in between meal snacks that have high sugar content and are sticky. Many snacks that are thought to be ?healthy? such as raisins, Fruit Roll-ups, Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Gushers, Fun Fruits, etc. are actually candy due to their tackiness and high sugar content. Of course, candies such as Skittles, Starbursts, Gummy Bears, Gummy Worms, and Blow Pops are extremely sticky and can result in dental decay. The use of prepackaged juices as between meal drinks also exposes your child to the risk of cavities. Remember, the frequency of consuming foods, especially sugary ones, can be as important in producing cavities as the sugar content of the food. Keep snacking to a minimum and offer your child healthy snacks such as fruits and vegetables.

Having regular 6-month check ups and periodic bitewing x-rays will help to prevent and detect these problems in the future, but remember prevention starts at home!

~The Unique Dental Care Team