How To Prevent Cavities in Children

Boy brushing his teeth

Cavities develop when you let sugar-containing foods stay in your mouth for a long time without cleaning. The bits of food that’s left in the mouth make for excellent fodder material for bacteria that live on the teeth. This allows them to grow and eat away at the tooth enamel, which may eventually cause cavities, which are holes that will only grow bigger and deeper over time.

Cavities can happen to anyone, children included. In fact, children are much more susceptible to cavities than adults are. This is likely because children do not know how to take proper care of their teeth just yet, and are more likely to munch on sugar-filled snacks regularly.

As a parent, you are your child’s first line of defense against cavities and it’s important that you inform yourself about what it takes to prevent cavities in children.

Proper Oral Hygiene Habits

For infants, you can use a clean washcloth or a wet gauze to wipe away plaque from their teeth and gums. Alternatively, you can also use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Do this as often as two to three times a day. Also, avoid letting your child go to bed with a bottle of milk or juice at hand.

For older children, encourage them to brush their teeth two to three times a day. Make sure to limit the amount of sugary snacks they eat everyday as well.

Now that you know what to do, it’s time to implement it, which as you may have experienced already, is not exactly all that easy. Though, don’t worry, as children will eventually give in and let you clean their teeth without making much of a fuss.

A good idea would be to make brushing and flossing a family affair, an idea that your child will surely love. Using toothbrushes or toothpastes with character designs may also help.

Regular Visits To The Dentist

Many dental professionals recommended that children be taken to the dentist for the first time by the time they’re one or two years old. From there, you can ask the pediatric dentist how often you should start taking your child for checkups and cleanings. Though, as a rule of thumb, it’s best to take your child to the pediatric dentist every six months.

Dental Sealants and Fluoride

Parents may also choose to have dental sealants applied to their children’s back teeth to help seal the grooves and depressions in the said area. Such areas are extremely difficult to clean and are prone to bacteria and food particle buildup. Sealing them up can help prevent such buildup, which in turn may help prevent cavities.

Dentists may also provide prescription strength fluoride for children to strengthen their teeth and prevent cavities.

Make sure that you monitor your child’s oral health and that you encourage them to follow a proper oral care routine. Ideally, the routine should include brushing twice a day, flossing, rinsing with mouthwash and visiting the dentist regularly. If you do this, you not only make sure that your child’s teeth are well protected from cavities, but you also make sure that they develop the correct oral health habits that they will carry with them well into their adulthood.

If you would like to schedule a routine checkup or professional cleaning for your child, contact Dr. James Yankowskas at  DDS with Tyngsboro Cosmetic Dentistry at 987-649-7773 to schedule a appointment today or visit for additional information regarding cavity prevention for children.

Do I Need a Root Canal? The Signs and Symptoms of a Damaged Pulp

Dental treatment

If there’s one thing that tooth decay, tooth pain and other oral health conditions have in common, it’s that they’re all caused by poor dental hygiene.

Not taking proper care of your teeth by not brushing and flossing regularly can cause plaque to develop and eventually, lead to cavities. If left untreated, the cavity can eventually spread to the pulp or the soft center of your teeth, causing damage to the nerves and blood vessels found inside. Even worse is that if the damage isn’t properly managed, you may just end up losing your teeth.

Symptoms of a Damaged Pulp

Depending on the severity of the damage to the pulp, the symptoms may vary, but they will typically include:

  • Tooth sensitivity and pain, especially when you eat something that’s hot, cold or very sweet
  • A sudden and unexplainable, sharp pain in your mouth
  • In worse cases, infection in your mouth may also occur

Root Canal Is Not The Only Treatment Option

When people hear the words “damaged pulp”, they’ll usually think that the only course of treatment is a root canal. However, that is not always the case.

For example, if you crack or break a tooth, it can lead to mild inflammation of the pulp. Although it can hurt – A  LOT – the dentist won’t recommend a root canal treatment just yet. Rather, the dentist will simply clean your teeth and mouth and ask you to start following a proper oral care routine from then on. Eventually, this will result into the inflammation reversing itself. Although, if necessary, the dentist may also choose to put a filling material inside the cracked or broken tooth just in case.

When Is A Root Canal Necessary?

There are still cases, however, where root canals are necessary, such as in the following scenarios:

  • If there’s severe inflammation of the pulp. Symptoms usually include sudden, sharp pain in the mouth. If left unchecked, the severe inflammation can infect the other ports of the mouth, namely the gums and other connective tissues. This is usually cured with a root canal procedure. However, if that doesn’t work, the dentist may have to remove the infected tooth to prevent further infection.
  • If dental pulp stones occur. Also known as dental pulp calcification, this is a condition where hardening of the pulp tissue occurs. This results in extreme pain and sensitivity due to the compression of the dental nerves. The hardened tissue can usually only be cleared away through a root canal treatment.
  • If the dental pulp becomes exposed. If there’s a cavity or a crack in the tooth, the pulp can be exposed to bacteria and other food This can result in pain and if not managed properly, can cause a mild infection that may eventually progress into a serious abscess. Although this can also be treated with a filling, most cases often require a root canal procedure, with some even requiring the removal of the infected tooth.

While injuries can certainly result into a damaged pulp, most cases are often the result of poor oral hygiene habits. If you just make it a point to take proper care of your teeth and gums and visit the dentist regularly, you won’t have to worry as much about damage to your pulp and other oral health conditions.

If you think you may be suffering from a damaged pulp and would benefit from a root canal, contact Dr. James Yankowskas, DDS with Tyngsboro Cosmetic Dentistry at 987-649-7773 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit for additional information regarding root canals.

Dr. James Yankowskas with Tyngsboro Cosmetic Dentistry proudly accepts patients from Lowell, Nashua, Dracut, Chelmsford, Dunstable and surrounding areas.