The cavity prone years coincide with the time when the child has extreme liking for sweet food and drinks. Higher the sugar intake, more the decay. Oral hygiene is also important because germs in the plaque (whenever you fail to brush your teeth, a yellowish sticky paste accumulates on the teeth which is called plaque) are responsible for transforming the sugar into acid that is ultimately responsible for the decay. Without the sugar, the germs will have no raw materials to create the acid. Hence the amount of sugar intake is directly proportional to the incidence of tooth decay.

What measures should be taken to save the baby teeth from decay.

First and foremost is that child should brush the teeth twice daily. Again the question arises that at what age the children should start brushing and how they should be trained to brush?

The idea is to get the child to start to handle the toothbrush at an early age and to get them used to having one in their mouth. Initially the parents, specially the mother may brush for the child which in turn can be a bonding experience. It is important to make it a comfortable and enjoyable experience.One should let the child watch the parent while he/she is brushing on a regular basis and later encourage the child to imitate them. The technique is not important at an early age. The point is to inculcate the habit of brushing

To save the teeth from decay, the best thing is to make the teeth so strong that bacteria is not able to cause decay and that can be done if fluoride is applied.Fluorides are used in toothpastes, mouth rinses, topical applications, for desensitizing teeth, remineralizing decay, and as a dietary supplement in children.

  1. Topically applied fluoride creates a decay resistant coating which lasts for several days on the surface of the teeth , and penetrates into decayed areas of teeth to help mineralize them (Fluoride binds with the decayed tooth structure and encourages it to recombine with calcium in the saliva to begin the process of hardening the decay).

  2. It is recommended that children under 12 years of age receive daily doses of fluoride in tablet form, or in the municipal water supply (0.7ppm-1.2ppm). The fluoride gets incorporated within the tooth structure and imparts lifelong protection against decay.

  3. When children come in for examination and cleaning to the dentist, fluoride tray application which contains prescription strength fluoride for longer lasting protection and in order to help stop already present decay is routinely done.

  4. In order to prevent the decay, the best method is to seal the areas of the teeth which are prone to the caries. For that sealants are used. Sealants are decay preventing agents which are bonded to the top of the back teeth to seal out germs and sugar.

The large back teeth (molars) have deep grooves on their biting surfaces which are most susceptible to decay. Because of their depth, sticky foods like raisins and candies, etc. get stuck in them and remain there for 30-40 minutes. The enamel at the bottom of the grooves is very thin so they are often the first places to be decayed. Sealants placed on back teeth are therefore highly effective in preventing their decay.   


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