The doctors at All Kids Dental are committed to providing the most advanced and effective strategies in caries prevention to help reach our goal of your child becoming a cavity-free adult.
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.
Yes, your child can receive too much fluoride and it may start during infancy. Research indicates that many children, especially those younger than two, swallow too much toothpaste. Additionally, a recent American Dental Association report (October, 2009) indicates that infants whose parents use tap water to reconstitute infant formula are at risk of too much fluoride. As a result, almost 15% of elementary school aged children show evidence of fluorosis, a defect in permanent tooth enamel that ranges from minor white blemishes to objectionable discoloration and weakness of the enamel. Like dental cavities, this can be prevented. We advise that parents reconstitute infant formulas using Nursery Water to avoid overfluoridation. Also, fluoride toothpaste should be avoided until 30 months of age. At that time a half of a pea sized amount of tooth paste on the tooth brush is plenty of fluoride protection and, with supervision, is not associated with an increased risk of fluorosis. Most children are not able to spit out the excess tooth paste until age five. Because of such concerns, parental supervision is normally recommended until age seven.
Water fluoridation is by far the best and safest way to prevent cavities and over the last 65 years has been shown to reduce tooth decay by 30 to 35%. Water fluoridation in combination with the regular use of a fluoride tooth paste can further reduce tooth decay in children by up to 45 to 50%.
Contemporary fluoride protocols avoid fluoride supplements and recommend the safety and efficacy of a topical approach. The research has also show that caries prone children over age five, benefit from a low concentration, high frequency fluoride protocol, such as an over the counter fluoride rinse or a prescription fluoride tooth paste prescribed by your dentist.
All Kids Dental utilizes the most appropriate fluoride protocols following your child’s routine teeth cleaning. The research has shown that these techniques are effective at further reducing cavities by up to 15% to 20%. In total, fluoride protocols are able to reduce the incidence of childhood caries by up to 65 to 70%. This, in combination with sealants, proper diet and home care, make becoming a cavity-free adult a very realistic goal for all of our patients at All Kids Dental.
Should your child develop a cavity, as do nearly 40 percent of five year old children, be aware that newer restorative materials can help with time-released fluorides that can prevent future decay. Regardless, All Kids Dental is committed to implementing the newest advances in materials technology to minimize the chance of future tooth decay for your child.
Why does All Kids Dental now use Fluoride Varnish?
All Kids Dental utilizes the newest fluoride protocol recently established by the American Dental Association. Research has shown that fluoride varnish is almost 50% more effective at reducing cavities as compared to the traditional fluoride gel approach. In addition, fluoride varnish results in a significantly lower systemic fluoride uptake than previously available. Since our goal is to fluoride the teeth, not the body, this has proven to be an exciting advancement.
Did you know that 38% of children who have fluoride varnish applied every six months have fewer cavities than those who did not? Fluoride varnish, in combination with water fluoridation and fluoride toothpaste, will reduce the incidence of childhood caries by up to 65 to 70%. This, in combination with dental sealants, proper diet and home care (brushing and flossing), make becoming a cavity free adult a very realistic goal for all of our patients at All Kids Dental.
The Role of Xylitol Gum and Mints in Reducing Cavities
Xylitol is common sugar substitute that is widely distributed throughout nature and is available in fruits, berries, mushrooms, lettuce, hardwoods and corn cobs. As an example, one cup of raspberries contains almost one gram of Xylitol. Over the past ten years, research has shown Xylitol’s effectiveness in dramatically reducing the incidence of caries, particularly in caries prone children. Xylitol effectively alters the virulence of Mutans Streptococci (bacteria in dental plaque responsible for forming cavities) and has a long lasting effect. Ask the front desk about Xylitol gum and mints that we have available for your child to try.
Probiotics Effective in Preventing Cavities
It’s unfortunate, but the research is very clear, children who have cavities are very likely to have more cavities in the future. As a group, these children continue to be cavity prone, despite good diet, hygiene and traditional caries prevention practices. The research has also shown that caries prone children carry a stronger, more virulent cavity forming strain of plaque bacteria. Many times, the only way to help reduce the risk of ongoing caries is to help change the strain of plaque these children carry. Most people are aware of how Activia, a probiotic yogurt, helps change the flora of the GI tract to help regulate digestion. Similar probiotic technology is now available in dentistry and is proving effective in altering the influence of the “pro-cavity” organisms in dental plaque. Products, such as Biogaia®, are now available and proven effective in changing a child’s oral flora from a “pro-cavity plaque” to an “anti-cavity plaque”. The procedure is simple and begins with an anti-microbial varnish (chlorhexidine). This “sterilizes” the current oral flora (plaque) and allows for recolonization by non-cariogenic organisms. Pro-biotic drops and gums are then utilized for two weeks, to promote an “anti-cavity” strain of plaque to colonize in the mouth, and crowd out any “pro-cavity” plaque that tries to adhere to teeth. This new generation of caries prevention allows the doctors at All Kids Dental to help regulate a part of the cavity process that was traditionally thought to be out of our control. We pride ourselves on using the most current and innovative prevention strategies to help your child reach our goal of becoming a cavity-free adult.