Dental Caries - The Most Common Childhood Disease - Hardy Pediatric dentistry & Orthodontics

Dental Caries – The Most Common Childhood Disease

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Cavities and Prevention

According to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC), even though dental cavities (caries) are largely preventable, they remain the most common chronic disease of children between the ages of  6 to 11 years and adolescents aged 12 to 19 years.  As a matter of fact, tooth decay is four times more common than asthma among adolescents aged 14 to 17 years. Learn what causes dental caries and how to prevent them from occurring so you can safeguard your child’s health and your own. Dr. Nam and her friendly staff will work with you to establish a tooth decay prevention plan to help you plan for success.


What are Dental Caries (Cavities)?

A cavity develops when a tooth decays, or breaks down. A cavity is a hole that can grow bigger and deeper over time. Cavities are also called dental caries.  If you have a cavity, it’s important to get it repaired early to prevent it from growing bigger or spreading. Cavities must be cleaned out and filled to prevent further problems.


Cavity Prevention Comes from Having a Plan

According to the National Institute of Health, good oral hygiene encompasses brushing your teeth (at least twice a day), flossing at least once, committing to a professional teeth-cleaning every six months, and having annual X-rays and dental exams to ward off cavity development. Consider the following ways you can help prevent cavities from developing:


Protect Teeth with Dental Sealants

A dental sealant is a thin plastic coating (usually clear or white in color) that is applied to the chewing surface of your tooth, which shields the enamel from further decay by “sealing out” food, plaque, and bacteria.  Dental sealants are meant to prevent the need for dental fillings, and require no drilling to the enamel or dentin in order to be applied. The great thing about dental sealants is that they are invisible–no one will even notice they are there, but they can make a big difference in whether or not your tooth gets a cavity or not.  

Watch Out for Sugar and Limit Snacking

Deciding to cut down the amount of sugar in your diet (especially sugar found in soda and fruit juices) can help you in your efforts to prevent cavities. Consider brushing your teeth or rinsing your mouth after eating sticky foods.  If you are a constant snacker, now is the time to think about breaking that habit.  Constantly eating, drinking sugary drinks, or sucking on hard candies or mints causes a constant stream of acid to be present in your mouth eating away at the enamel of your teeth.

Schedule a DIAGNOdent Laser Caries Detection Exam

If you feel you have symptoms of a cavity, schedule an appointment today to be evaluated. DIAGNOdent laser technology allows Dr. Nam to see below the surface of your tooth and stop dental caries before they can destroy the substance of your tooth. The DIAGNOdent tool gives Dr. Nam views into occlusal pits and fissures so she can treat sub-surface caries lesions with accuracy and effectiveness.  DIAGNOdent laser caries detection helps us focus on prevention, tooth preservation, and awareness.

Make and Keep Regular Dental Appointments

Making and keeping your 6-month cleanings and exams are an essential part of good oral hygiene and cavity prevention. In-office cleanings help remove plaque and calculus (hard tartar deposits), which can cause cavities and gum disease.  Fluoride is applied to the teeth following a cleaning to help protect and strengthen your tooth enamel and prevent decay. Fluoride, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), is one of the key reasons that tooth decay over the last several years has been significantly reduced. The use of fluoride is important for both children and adults in the fight against cavities and tooth decay.


Call for a Consultation

The exciting technology and prevention treatments we offer our patients supports our mission at  Hardy Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics to give you state-of-the-art services you can trust with expert care. We are passionate about helping you and your children achieve and maintain optimal oral health and a beautiful smile! We are dedicated to making every effort to treat our patients the way we treat members of our own family. We offer comprehensive care for your dental needs in a relaxed and efficient atmosphere.  We look forward to meeting you and your family! Call us today at (303) 223-0403 to make an appointment.