Prevention

Tooth Decay Prevention

Tooth decay is a progressive disease resulting in the interaction of bacteria that naturally occur on the teeth and sugars in the everyday diet. Bacteria in your mouth feed on sugars this produces acids that break down tooth enamel and dentin forming cavities. Dentists remove the decay and fill the tooth using a variety of fillings, restoring the tooth to a healthy state. Avoiding unnecessary decay simply requires strict adherence to a dental hygiene regimen: brushing up to three times per day and flossing (1x per day), regular dental checkups, diet control and fluoride treatments are important. Practicing good hygiene avoids unhealthy teeth and costly treatment.

Sealants

The grooves and depressions that form the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are extremely difficult (if not impossible) to clean of bacteria and food. As the bacteria reacts with the food, acids form and break down the tooth enamel, causing cavities. Recent studies indicate that 88 percent of total cavities in American school children are caused this way.

Tooth sealants protect these susceptible areas by sealing the grooves and depressions, preventing bacteria and food particles from residing in these areas. Sealant material is a resin typically applied to the back teeth, molars and premolars and areas prone to cavities. It lasts for several years but needs to be checked during regular appointments at our Scarsdale area dental practice.

Fluoride

Fluoride is a substance that helps teeth become stronger and resistant to decay. Fluoridated drinking water toughens the tooth animal in growing children. In addition daily use of fluoride toothpaste plus special treatments at our office have been proven effective in reducing tooth decay on  smooth surfaces.

Thumb Sucking

Sucking is a natural reflex that relaxes and comforts babies and toddlers. Children usually cease thumb sucking when the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. Typically, children stop between the ages of 2 and 4 years. Thumb sucking that persists beyond the eruption of primary teeth can cause improper growth of the mouth and misalignment of the teeth. If you notice prolonged and/or vigorous thumb sucking behavior in your child, talk to your Scarsdale area dentist. Children that suck their thumb may end up causing an open bite. An open bite often leads to a tongue thrust or reverse swallowing pattern. The doctors at SDG are familiar with this and can coach your son or daughter on exercises to eliminate the improper tongue thrust and reverse swallowing pattern.

Here are some ways to help your child outgrow thumb sucking:

  • Don’t scold a child when they exhibit thumb-sucking behavior; instead, praise them when they don’t suck his or her thumb.
  • Focus on eliminating the cause of anxiety  thumb sucking is a comfort device that helps children cope with stress or discomfort.
  • Praise them when they refrain from the habit during difficult periods.
  • Place a bandage on the thumb or a sock on their hand at night.