Preventing Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is a progressive disease resulting from the interaction between sugars in the everyday diet and bacteria that naturally occur on the teeth. Sugar creates a reaction in the bacteria, causing it to produce acids that break down the minerals in teeth, forming cavities. Dentists remove the decay and fill each cavity using a variety of fillings materials to restore the tooth to a healthy state. Nerve damage can result from severe decay and may necessitate more extensive treatment, such as a root canal. Preventive services are critical for early detection of decay and for avoiding costly dental treatment; therefore, preventive services are strongly stressed in our practice along with practicing good dental hygiene on a daily basis.


The grooves and depressions that form the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are extremely difficult to keep clean. As the bacteria reacts with the food, acids form and break down the tooth enamel, causing cavities. Recent studies indicate that eighty-eight 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.


Research and data proves fluoride helps teeth resist decay. Regularly drinking water treated with fluoride, periodic applications of fluoride, and good daily hygiene practices ensure significantly lower cavity rates. For this reason, children drinking nonfluorinated water may be advised to take a fluoride supplement. For our cavity-prone adults, daily topical applications of fluoride at home may also be recommended.

Thumb and Finger Sucking

Sucking is a natural reflex that relaxes and comforts babies and toddlers. Typically, children stop between the ages of two and four years. Thumb-sucking that persists beyond the eruption of primary teeth may cause improper growth of the mouth and misalignment of the teeth. If you notice prolonged and/or vigorous thumb-sucking behavior in your child, please talk with our staff.

Here are some ways to help your child outgrow thumb sucking:
•Don’t scold children when they exhibit thumb-sucking behavior; instead, praise them when they don’t thumb-suck.
•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.

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