Most parents make sure their children brush their teeth. They do their best to limit candy and sugary drinks, and make sure their son or daughter consumes enough calcium and Vitamin D. Some also limit between-meal snacks. Andyet, at David Rice DDS in Elgin we treat tooth decay in young patients daily.
Parents should be aware that there are four additional weapons for preventing cavities in children and adolescents.
- Fluoride Supplements
- Oral Rinses
- Professional dental cleanings
The first generation of children to benefit from dental sealants are in their fifties and sixties now. Since then, dental sealants have proven to be effective at decreasing pit and fissure tooth decay.
Fluoride supplements help strengthen still-forming teeth before they erupt. Note that if you have fluoridated water, your pediatric dentist may counsel against taking additional fluoride in supplement form.
If your son or daughter is taking fluoride supplements, is an oral rinse redundant? Actually, no. Fluoride supplements help strengthen teeth that are still forming, but a fluoride rinse helps teeth that have already come in. Make sure you pick one specifically created for children. Products labeled as a mouthwash may not contain fluoride. And they probably contain alcohol.
Oral rinses work best when children and adolescents swish after they brush and floss at night. The rinse should be the last substance to make contact with teeth before bed. This helps teeth re-mineralize during sleep.
Dental cleanings remove plaque that can’t be brushed away. Kids who receive twice-a-year teeth cleanings are less likely to are plagued with decay, infection, or gum disease.