Preventive Services That Protect Your Child's Teeth

If your child is repeatedly developing cavities, they may need preventive dental care to help protect their teeth from decay. Here are a few preventive services that pediatric dentists offer to protect the teeth.

Fluoride Treatments

Fluoride is used to help remineralize a child's teeth. Dental decay takes place as the acids in the mouth dissolve the minerals that make up the tooth enamel.

Fluoride works by drawing minerals that have been displaced from the enamel back to the teeth. The fluoride also binds with the minerals to create new tooth material that repairs the teeth and makes them less susceptible to decay. 

The dentist applies fluoride to the teeth as a gel, foam, or varnish. Once the fluoride product has been placed on the teeth, it is left in place for a suggested amount of time, and then the mouth is rinsed from the teeth. After the fluoride application, the dentist may recommend that the child avoids eating or drinking for a few minutes to allow the fluoride to sufficiently penetrate the teeth. 

Even though fluoride may be present in the child's toothpaste and drinking water, a fluoride treatment offers a higher concentration of the substance to more effectively prevent decay.


Dental sealants can also help a child avoid decay. During a sealant application, the dentist places plastic coatings on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. 

A child's molars are particularly susceptible to decay because of their deeply grooved chewing surfaces. The grooves allow plaque and particles of food to settle on the teeth. Since decay occurs as the microbes in the mouth feed on leftover carbohydrates and release enamel-demineralizing decay, the plaque and bits of food can quickly lead to the formation of cavities.

Dental sealants place a protective barrier between the tooth enamel and decay-causing substances. As a result, your child is less likely to incur cavities.

A dental sealant lasts for years, so your child's teeth remain protected for a significant period. Nevertheless, if a sealant wears away or becomes damaged, it can be easily replaced. 

As the dentist applies a sealant, the plastic product is placed on the teeth as a liquid and then quickly hardened into place. 

Dental Cleanings

Dental cleanings also protect the teeth by removing tartar, which is calcified plaque. The tartar can promote decay by offering additional surface area for the accumulation of plaque and oral bacteria. 

Your child should have their teeth professionally cleaned at least twice a year. If your youngster has not had a routine dental visit in the past six months, schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist, such as Dentistry For Children & Adolescents, in your local area.