How can my Child Avoid Cavities This Halloween?
- Posted on: Oct 18 2018
Even if you stick your child to a regular brush and floss regime, he or she can still get cavities. As we quickly approach Halloween, an excess of candy can create a breeding ground for cavities.
What are cavities?
Cavities are a result of tooth decay that causes a tiny opening or hole that affects the outer coating (enamel) as well as the inner layer (dentin) of the teeth. If they aren’t treated properly, they can grow larger and deeper, causing problems like infection and even tooth loss.
How do you get cavities?
Cavities occur over time, and the process starts with the formation of plaque – a sticky film that coats your teeth. Plaque can form if you eat a lot of sugary and starchy foods and have poor brushing habits. When remnants of these foods are left on your teeth, they provide food for bacteria. The plaque can harden over time, forming hard tartar that creates bacteria. Acids in plaque can eventually destroy your tooth’s enamel, leaving holes in this hard-outer layer. If the cavity continues to grow, it can reach the dentin and pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels. This can cause additional problems, such as pain and swelling.
How can you help your kids avoid cavities?
Although it’s a priority at any time of year, it’s especially important to help your kids avoid cavities around Halloween. Even kids who usually don’t eat much candy may load up with it after trick-or-treating and increase their risk of developing cavities. The following tips can help your kids avoid cavities during Halloween:
- Brush after eating treats – Remind your kids to brush and floss after eating candy, since it can get stuck between teeth.
- Avoid sticky candy – Sticky candies remain on the teeth longer, so they increase risk of cavities.
- Monitor candy consumption – Allow Halloween treats in moderation. Have small non-candy items, like stickers, to give your child instead.
- Encourage your kids to drink water – Drinking water while eating treats will help wash away sugar so it has less contact with the enamel.
How are cavities treated?
A cavity can be treated in the following ways, depending on how far advanced it is:
- Fluoride – A fluoride treatment can sometimes help reverse a cavity, but only if it’s in its very early stages.
- Filling – In most cases, your dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and replace it with a filling made of a material such as a silver alloy or composite resin.
- Crowns – If a tooth is decayed, the dentist can remove and repair the damaged part and then fit a crown over the remaining part of the tooth.
- Root canal – A cavity that reaches the root or pulp of your tooth and results in damage that can’t be repaired, may require a root canal. The dentist will remove the nerve, blood vessels, tissue and decayed portions of the tooth before filling in the roots with a sealing material. A crown may also be needed.
If you or your child has a cavity or is in need of regular dental care, make an appointment today with one of Concerned Dental Care’s many convenient New York locations.