Prevention

Flossing

Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind some of it around your middle finger (3 turns); this finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty. Shorten the length between the two fingers to 6 inches and wind some floss (1 turn) around the opposite middle finger. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and index fingers. Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C-shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth. Hold the floss tightly against the tooth as you gently rub the side of the tooth with an up and down motion. Before retrieving it, reverse the C-shape to clean the adjacent tooth surface as well.

As you finish cleaning each tooth, wind the dirty floss once around the first middle finger and slide more new length of floss to proceed to the next teeth.

Fluoride for Children

Fluoride, a substance that's found naturally in water, plays an important role in healthy tooth development and cavity prevention. Fluoride combats tooth decay in two ways:

  1. It strengthens tooth enamel, a hard and shiny substance that protects the teeth, so that it can better resist the acid formed by plaque.
  2. Fluoride allows teeth damaged by acid to repair, or re-mineralize, themselves.

Fluoride cannot repair cavities, but it can reverse low levels of tooth decay and thus prevent new cavities from forming.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that these fluoride supplements be given daily to children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years. The dosage will change as your child grows. Only children living in non-fluoridated areas or children who drink only non-fluoridated bottled water should receive supplements.

Most children get the right amount of fluoride through a combination of fluoridated toothpaste and fluoridated water or supplements. Too much fluoride before 8 years of age can cause enamel fluorosis, a discoloration or mottling of the permanent teeth. This condition is unsightly but harmless and often can be treated with cosmetic procedures.

How does enamel fluorosis occur?

By swallowing too much fluoride for the child's size and weight during the years of tooth development, a child can develop enamel fluorosis. This can happen in several different ways.

First, a child may take more of a fluoride supplement than the amount prescribed.

Second, the child may take a fluoride supplement when there is already an optimal amount of fluoride in the drinking water.

Third, some children simply like the taste of fluoridated toothpaste. They may use too much toothpaste, and then swallow it instead of spitting it out.

Applying Dental Sealants

Sealants are one of the easiest preventive dental procedures that can be done. Sealing your teeth can be done in a single dental visit and is entirely painless!

We will first thoroughly clean and dry teeth that are going to be sealed. Generally, gauze and/or cotton will be placed around the tooth to prevent moisture collecting on the tooth. A clean and dry tooth is essential for the sealant material to properly adhere.

Next, a mild acid is applied to the chewing surface of the tooth. This will roughen the surface layer of the tooth's enamel and will provide an optimal surface for the sealant material to bond to.

The tooth will be rinsed with water and dried a final time before the sealant is placed.

Dental sealant material is a plastic-like material that is brushed onto the tooth's chewing services. This liquid-like material will sink into the nooks and crannies within the chewing surface and start bonding directly to the enamel layer of the tooth. We will use a special blue curing light that hardens the sealant.

That's it! Your tooth is now sealed off from harmful plaque and bacteria.