Monday, November 15, 2010

How do I prevent cavities?

Regular brushing and flossing lowers the chance of developing "cavities." The most decay-prone areas of teeth are the grooves and depressions on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, and in between the teeth where a brush can't reach.  When decay happens,  it requires treatment.  Left alone decay will reach further and further into the tooth and will eventually cause either the tooth to fracture or cause abscess. Prevention is the best way to approach the problem of dental decay.

Fluoride, in proper dosage, has been shown to significantly reduce dental decay. When fluoridated water is less than the ideal amount or not available, fluoride supplements are recommended. (A call to your local water district is all that is necessary to determine whether your water has fluoride or not.)To prevent decay, a plastic-like coating called a sealant should be painted on the chewing surfaces of all the back teeth. Studies have shown that sealants can reduce tooth decay by as much as 90% to 100%.When supplements are needed, the administration of fluoride supplements should begin shortly after birth and continue through the time of eruption of the second permanent molars (approx. 12 years of age).

The American Dental Association recommends sealants be placed as soon as the first adult back teeth come in at age 6 or 7. Sealants should continue to be used as each adult back tooth comes into the mouth. All back teeth that need to be sealed are present by age 13. Sealant application is simple, fast, and painless.

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