Crystal Lake, IL Dentist
77 E. Crystal Lake Avenue
Crystal Lake, IL 60014

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Posts for tag: Children's Dental Health

February is National Children's Health Month

Despite the fact that it’s almost entirely preventable, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children.

Our mouths are full of bacteria that are both harmful and helpful. Throughout the day, a tug of war takesplace inside our mouths. 

On one team are dental plaque–sticky, colorless film of bacteria–plus foods and drinks that contain sugar or starch, which the bacteria use to produce acids. These acids begin to eat away at the tooth's hard outer surface, or enamel.

On the other team are the minerals in our saliva (such as calcium and phosphate)
plus fluoride from toothpaste, water, and other sources.  This team helps enamel repair itself by replacing minerals lost during an "acid attack."

Our teeth go through this natural process of losing minerals and regaining minerals
all day long. The repeated cycles of acid attacks cause the enamel to continue to lose minerals and become weakened and destroyed, forming a cavity.


We can help teeth win the tug of war and avoid cavities if we:

1) Use fluoride – it's a mineral that can prevent tooth decay from progressing. You can get fluoride by drinking fluoridated water, brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, rinsing with a fluoride mouth rinse and your dentist can apply a fluoride gel or varnish to tooth surfaces.

Keep an eye on how often and what your child eats. Foods and drinks containing sugar and starches cause repeated acid attacks on the teeth so they lose minerals and eventually develop cavities. Some tips are to limit between-meal snacks and save sugary foods/drinks for special occasions. Limit fruit juice and make sure your child doesn't eat/drink anything with sugar in it after bedtime tooth brushing.


3) Make sure your child brushes with fluoride toothpaste at least two times per day. Supervise young children when they brush (you brush their teeth first, then let them finish) and use only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Encourage them to spit out the toothpaste rather than swallow it as consuming higher than recommended amounts of fluoride, during the teeth-forming years, may cause permanent teeth to develop white lines or flecks called dental flourosis. In children under age 2, we recommend that you do not use fluoride toothpaste.

4) Sealants are another good way to help avoid a cavity. They are a thin plastic coating painted onto the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, or molars, helping to prevent food and bacteria from getting stuck in the pits and grooves of the teeth.

5) Take your child to the dentist for regular cleanings and examinations. During these visits we will remove dental plaque, check for areas of early tooth decay, show you and your child how to thoroughly clean the teeth and apply fluoride if necessary.