Preventative dental care is of great importance to our team here at Knollwood Dental Group.  With proper daily brushing and flossing, as well as regular dental examinations and professional cleanings, you can avoid most of the common problems that can affect your mouth and teeth.  While a visit to our office can take care of many simple treatments–such as cavity filling–preventing the problems before they begin is the best path to oral health.

Dental Sealants

One option to assist in the prevention of cavities and decay is the use of dental sealants.  The back molar teeth tend to be more difficult to clean, as they contain the many grooves and indentations necessary for chewing.  These teeth are prone to bacterial and acidic damage, which can break down the enamel of the teeth, resulting in cavities.  Recent studies show that 88 percent of the total cavities found in the teeth of American school children are caused by trapped particles on these rear molars.

Tooth sealants can help to protect these vulnerable molars and premolars by sealing the grooves and depressions, which keeps bacteria from reaching these areas.  Dental sealants can last for several years, but should be checked during regular appointments.

Fluoride

Most dentists believe firmly in the positive effects of fluoride in dental health.  Fluoride is a substance that helps strengthen teeth and makes them more resistant to potential decay.  Fluoride-treated water is one method of receiving a healthy level of fluoride, combined with daily brushing and flossing.  These actions together can help greatly reduce the threat of cavities.

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 dentist.

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.