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Teaching your child the importance of proper dental hygiene will keep them out of the dentist's office and free of the pain and discomfort associated with tooth decay.

Everyone is at risk for cavities, but a regular routine of brushing and flossing can aid in the prevention of serious decay.

How Cavities Develop

Tooth decay, also referred to as caries or cavities, begins when foods heavy in carbohydrates are not removed from the teeth. Bacteria living in our mouths aid in the breaking down of these foods into acids. Harmful plaque is formed from a combination of these helpful bacteria, foods, acids and saliva. Eventually, the acid may cause tooth enamel to wear, causing cavities.

Simple Steps for Proper Prevention

  • Daily brushing at the sign of the first tooth
  • Use fluoridated toothpaste
  • Daily flossing after age 2
  • Consume a well-balanced diet
  • Talk with your child's dentist about using supplemental fluoride
  • Consider the application of dental sealants and fluoride varnish for further protection
  • Always attend routine cleanings every 6 months with your child's dentist

Dealing with Unusually Higher Risks

Cavities can happen to anyone, there are certain risk factors that place children at unusually higher risks, including:

  • Drinking water that lacks fluoridation
  • Consumption of/ Diets rich in carbs and sugars
  • Age (younger children and older adults)
  • Problems with salivary production
  • Abnormal levels of cavity causing bacteria in the mouth
  • Overall lack of oral hygiene

Indications that Cavities have Developed

  • White spots on teeth
  • Light brown discolorations
  • The tooth becomes visibly darkened
  • An actual hole or "cavitation" may be present
  • Sensitivity to cold drinks, candy and other foods

Emily Bendlin, MD

Methodist Physicians Clinic - Gretna

Dr. Bendlin loves working with kids and their parents. She has always enjoyed caring for kids.  "I've always liked medicine, but more importantly I've always liked kids," Dr. Bendlin said. "During my pediatric rotation it was the 'aha' moment. It was so fun and I was so excited when I went home. I knew at that time this is it for me – pediatrics is where I’m supposed to be." According to Dr. Bendlin, "Working with kids is fun. What other ...

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