Prevention

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Meadows Dental Care Shares Tooth Decay Prevention

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Meadows Dental Care, located in Palatine, Illinois, is also proud to serve the Arlington Heights, Barrington, Hoffman Estate and Schaumburg areas. Our team of knowledgeable doctors and their friendly staff are committed to providing patients with the highest quality of dental and orthodontic care. We are happy to offer our patients multiple treatment options, including cosmetic dentistry, endodontics, periodontics and orthodontics. Here at Meadows Dental Care, our priority is making sure our patients maintain their oral health. Below, patients can learn about how they can better increase oral health and avoid tooth decay.

Avoiding Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is a progressive condition that arises out of the interactions between naturally occurring bacteria in our mouths and sugars found in our diets. These bacteria feed on the sugar, breaking it down into acidic compounds that, over time, erode the enamel on our teeth to form a cavity. To solve this problem, dentists remove the plaque and decayed areas and fill the tooth with a filling, repairing the tooth to a healthy and functional state. Severe decay can result in nerve damage if the cavity digs far enough into the tooth to hit the nerve, and may require a crown - a larger filling that caps the whole tooth, covering a protecting it. Dental decay can be avoided by a dental hygiene regimen:

  • Brush and floss twice per day
  • Regular dental appointments and check ups
  • Proper diet and fluoridation
  • Sealants

Our back teeth, the molars, are very topographically complex, filled with cracks and crevices that aid us in grinding up and chewing food. Although these surfaces are helpful for eating, they can provide a haven for food particles and bacteria, which are a major contributing factor to cavities. Sealant material can be applied to the crevices to seal out food and bacteria, greatly reducing the likelihood of tooth decay. The sealant lasts for several years, but must be checked on regularly during appointments.

Fluoride

Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens teeth and makes it more resistant to decay. Fluoride is so important to teeth that it's actually added to both tap water and toothpaste - so drinking tap water regularly and brushing and flossing your teeth ensures proper tooth fluoridation. If your primary water source is low in fluoride, your dentist can recommend supplements if necessary.

Thumb Sucking

Sucking is a natural reflex that infants and toddlers often find comforting. Thumb sucking in children usually stops between ages 2 to 4, once the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. If thumb sucking persists beyond this age, it can cause improper growth of the jaw and mouth and misaligned teeth. If your child exhibits prolonged or particularly vigorous thumb sucking, it's best to talk to your dentist to evaluate the situation. Some effective tips to help a child grow out of thumb sucking:

  • Don't scold the child for thumb sucking - instead, praise them when they do not such their thumb.
  • Thumb sucking is a coping mechanism that allows children to comfort themselves when they feel stressed - see if you can find and eliminate the source of the anxiety.
  • If necessary, place a bandage on the thumb or a sock on the hand at night to prevent thumb sucking during sleeping.

Your Local Arlington Heights Dentists

If you or your child experiences any of these conditions, feel free to use our online form or call us to make an appointment at our Palatine, IL office. We offer a range of dental and orthodontic care, including endodontics, periodontics and cosmetic dentistry. We look forward to seeing you at your next visit!