Teaching Kids to Have a Healthy Smile
Your teeth are very hard, which helps them do the job of chewing and grinding up food. As hard as teeth are, though, they can develop holes in them. If you get a hole in a tooth, the dentist will tell you that you have a cavity. The dentist can fix a cavity by filling it with a special filling. This stops a cavity from getting bigger, which is important. You can learn how to take good care of your teeth to keep them clean and healthy, and this can help keep you from getting cavities.
What Are Cavities?
Your mouth has lots of bacteria in it, which is normal. It’s fine to have some types of bacteria in your mouth, but other kinds of germs can hurt your teeth. If the bad kind of bacteria stays on your teeth for too long, it can hurt the outer covering, called the enamel. Sometimes bacteria stays in your mouth for so long, mixing with saliva, that it forms a covering over teeth, which is called plaque. When plaque stays on the enamel of your teeth, this can cause cavities. You might not always see these cavities, and lots of times, they don’t even hurt. But over time, they can grow into bigger holes. If a cavity gets big enough, the hole can get deep into the tooth. If this happens, you might start to feel pain in a tooth. Part of the tooth could even break off because of the decay.
Filling a cavity is an easy process. The dentist may give you special medicine to keep you from feeling pain while you get a filling. Then, the dentist will get your mouth ready for the filling by putting some special tools in your mouth. You will probably hear noises as the dentist removes the decayed part of your tooth. The dentist’s helper will rinse out your mouth with water and then suck up the water with a special tube. You shouldn’t feel any pain during the filling. After removing the decayed part of the tooth, the dentist will replace it with special filling material.
- Tooth Decay (Caries or Cavities) in Children
- Dental Cavities
- Definition of Dental Cavities (PDF)
- How Does Fluoride Work?
- Cavities Are Contagious
- Children’s Oral Health
- Oral Health (PDF)
- Keep Cavities Away
- Smile Smarts (PDF)
- Children’s Oral Health (PDF)
- Guide to Children’s Oral Health
- Healthy Smiles (PDF)
The Importance of Good Brushing
It is very important to do a good job brushing your teeth. To do the best job, you should spend at least two minutes brushing. This can feel like a long time until you get used to brushing for this amount of time. It really does take this long to clean every tooth well with a toothbrush, though. As you brush, make sure that you get the bristles around every tooth on every side. Pay attention to the areas along the gum line, where your teeth meet the pink gums. Don’t forget the back teeth that you can’t see so well, too. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth to keep these areas clean as well. Brushing your teeth not only keeps them clean, but it helps keep your gums and your whole mouth healthy and smelling fresh.
- Protecting Children’s Teeth
- The Importance of Brushing and Flossing Your Teeth
- Recommendations for Oral Health (PDF)
- Tooth Brushing
- Tooth Talk
- Brush Your Teeth
- Brushing Teeth (video)
- Defeat Monster Mouth (PDF)
- A Guide to Children’s Oral Health
Eating a Healthy Diet
The foods you eat are another part of good dental health. It’s easy to grab a sugary snack when you are hungry, but candy and cookies can cause cavities. These types of foods have lots of sugars and starches in them. After eating these types of foods, the number of bacteria often grows in your mouth. If you don’t brush your teeth right away after eating, your teeth can begin to develop harmful plaque. Over time, you might begin to get cavities with this type of diet. Instead of grabbing something sugary when you are hungry, choose fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, dairy products, or grains such as unsweetened cereal or plain bagels. Remember to brush your teeth soon after eating as often as possible to control harmful bacteria on your teeth.