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Understanding Cavities

October 13th, 2008

One word nobody wants to hear when they visit the dentist is Cavity! That’s right, the dreaded cavity; but what exactly is a cavity and how do they happen? A cavity is a hole that develops in a tooth when the tooth begins to decay. It’s important to get a cavity filled as soon as it’s detected so that it does not grow bigger.

So, what causes a cavity? A cavity is caused by plaque, a sticky substance that forms on the tooth as a result of germ and bacteria build-up. Plaque is acidic and as it clings to your teeth the acids eat away the outside of the tooth (also called the enamel) and a hole is formed.

Yes, cavities can be repaired by your dentist, but here are a few simple steps you can take to prevent cavities:

• Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily
• Gently brush your gums to keep them healthy (when choosing a toothbrush it is recommended to use soft bristles)
• Floss your teeth at least once a day to remove plaque and food that may be caught between the teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach
• Limit the amount of soda and sugary treats you eat/drink
• Be sure to visit your dentist every six months for a teeth cleaning and check-up

$1.50 for a Cavity

October 6th, 2008

Vending machines are a quick way to satisfy hunger. You put in $1.50 and you get back a candy bar, bag of chips or even a soda…but that’s not all! Vending machines not only dispense sweet treats and caffeine bursts, but they also dispense cavities!

Every time you chow down on that chocolate bar the bacteria in your mouth have a party feasting on the sugar. The sugar quickly turns into acid; that’s right, ACID!!! The acid sits on your teeth and eats away at the tooth’s natural enamel (the stuff that protects your tooth from decay). When this enamel is eaten away by the acid on your tooth, you get a cavity! Brushing your teeth after eating a sugary treat can help prevent cavities; but before you indulge remind yourself: “can’t brush? Hold the sugar!”

When choosing a snack, consider these nutritional options that will not only satisfy your hunger and that “sweet tooth”, but won’t cause acid build up resulting in cavities:

• Fresh Fruits (berries, oranges, melon, pears, etc)
• Raw Vegetables (broccoli, celery, carrots, etc)
• Bread
• Pretzels (low salt)
• Milk (low or non-fat)
• Cheese (low or non-fat)
• Nuts and seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc)
• Sliced meat

Regular Checkups are Important

September 30th, 2008

Is your child brushing his/her teeth twice a day? If yes, that’s great; but, don’t forget that it’s also important for your child to visit the dentist every six months in addition to brushing their teeth a couple times a day. If your child will be visiting the dentist for the first time, it’s important to bring them in after their first tooth come through, and no later than their first birthday. Regular dental checkups are important for maintaining good oral health. Your dentist can:

• Check for problems that might not be seen or felt
• Detect cavities and early signs of decay
• Treat oral health problems early
• Show your child how to properly brush and floss their teeth

During an oral exam the doctor will check the health of your child’s mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks and tongue. Checkups will also include a thorough teeth cleaning and polishing. If your child has not been to the dentist in the last six months, it’s time for you to schedule an appointment!

When is Thumb-sucking a Cause for Worry?

September 23rd, 2008

Lots of you have asked us about whether it’s healthy for children to suck thumbs (or, less frequently, fingers). If you’ve got a thumb-sucker in the house, you are not alone. Research tells us that between 75% and 95% of infants suck their thumbs. Is this anything to worry about?

In most cases, no. Sucking is a natural reflex for an infant, and can provide security and contentment as well as relaxation for your little one. It’s a habit that most children grow out of between the ages of 2 and 4.

However, if your child keeps sucking after they have gotten their permanent teeth, it’s time to take a closer look. If your child sucks his thumb aggressively, putting pressure on the inside of his mouth or his teeth, it could cause problems with tooth alignment and proper mouth growth. If you’re worried, give us a call and we will help assess the situation, and provide tips for how to help your child break the habit. Give Dr. Baruffi a call at 206.973.8211

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