5 Ways Pediatric Dentists Prevent Cavities in Baby Teeth

Pediatric Dental Treatments in Grand Rapids, MI

No one wants to see their child in pain from a toothache, which is why it’s important to ask a Grand Rapids pediatric dentist how to prevent cavities. The first step to preventing cavities is to make sure you schedule your child’s first dentist appointment within 6 months of getting their first baby tooth (age 1 by the latest). A children’s dentist should offer a range of services to prevent tooth decay in baby teeth, such as dental exams, teeth cleanings, fluoride treatments, and dental sealants.

1.) Dental Exams

It’s important that you schedule a dentist appointment for your child every six months. During the appointment, your child’s pediatric dentist will be able to inspect their teeth and gums for the beginning signs of baby tooth decay or gum disease. They will also be able to take dental x-rays to get a better look at tooth decay that could be hiding beneath the surface. Your dentist will then assess your child’s risk for tooth decay based on tooth shape and structure.

2.) Teeth Cleanings

Brushing and flossing your teeth is the best way to remove dental plaque and bacteria from teeth. However, only a dental hygienist will be able to remove dental plaque that has hardened onto teeth to form tartar. Your child will also need a professional teeth cleaning to remove plaque hidden between teeth or along the gum line. Teeth cleanings prevent cavities because they remove dental plaque and bacteria that would have otherwise caused cavities.

3.) Fluoride Treatments

Your dentist may recommend fluoride as a way to prevent childhood cavities. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel against dental plaque and bacteria that cause cavities. The dental health benefits of fluoride have been recognized for years, which is why the majority of public drinking water supplies have been fluoridated. Most insurance companies stop covering fluoride treatments after age 14.

4.) Tooth Sealants

If a pediatric dentist discovers deep grooves or pits on the chewing surface of your child’s molars (back teeth), they may recommend dental sealants. Like the name suggests, a dental sealant seals the surface of your child’s tooth so plaque and bacteria can’t get stuck in small crevices and cause cavities.

5.) Guidance on Diet

The average American diet contains more sugar than it did 50 years ago, which is why it’s important children know what foods and beverages should be limited or avoided altogether. For example, most people already know that they should drink pop and other sugary drinks in moderation.

However, did you also know that beverages that seem healthy, like sports drinks or fruit juices, can contain just as much sugar? A dentist for kids will be able to explain to your child how diet affects baby teeth in a way they’ll understand.

Dr. Kingma DDS at Kingma Pediatric Dentistry is dedicated to helping patients maintain healthy smiles through childhood. If you are interested in learning more about our pediatric dental services, be sure to call our pediatric dentists in Grand Rapids at (616) 942-9840.