Dave Atherton, DDS

Oral Health
Good oral health assures that your child has decay-free teeth, healthy gums, normal primary to adult tooth development and good tooth and jaw alignment.

What causes decay?
Tooth decay is the primary issue in the oral health of your child. Tooth decay can occur in patients of all ages; in both primary teeth and adult teeth. Decay is caused by an oral infection of the bacteria, mutans streptococci which resides in dental plaque - a thin, sticky deposit of bacterial colonies that forms (daily) on the teeth. When sugars or, starchy foods are eaten, bacterial colonies absorb the sugars and produce an acid that breaks down tooth enamel. Unhindered, the acid will, over time, create cavities in the tooth's surface and may eventually cause the tooth to deteriorate and its nerve to die.

Four things are necessary for cavities to form: 1) a tooth; 2) bacteria; 3) sugars or other carbohydrates; and 4) time. Good oral hygiene which includes daily brushing and flossing as well as regular cleanings at the dental office can remove the tooth plaque containing the cavity-making bacteria. Fluoride toothpaste, oral fluoride treatments can help strengthen the tooth enamel and prevent cavities from forming. Sealants on the chewing surfaces of your child's teeth can keep bacteria from residing in natural crevices of teeth. Good eating habits can also reduce the growth of bacterial colonies. We can share with you how to make teeth strong, keep bacteria from organizing into harmful colonies, develop healthy eating habits, and understand the role that time plays. Remember dental decay is an infection of the tooth! Visiting us early can help avoid unnecessary cavities and dental treatment.

Why is preventive dentistry important?
A child with a healthy mouth has a better chance of general health. Oral conditions can interfere with eating and adequate nutritional intake, speech, self-esteem, and daily activities. Severe decay can affect growth and development. Children with dental pain may be unable to sleep, to concentrate in school or outside activities. A healthy mouth is more attractive, giving children confidence in their appearance. Finally, preventive dentistry can result in less extensive -- and less expensive -- treatment for your child.

How can you help your child enjoy good oral health?
The following steps will help your child be part of the cavity-free generation:

  1. Beware of frequent snacking
  2. Brush effectively twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
  3. Floss once a day
  4. Have sealants applied when appropriate
  5. Seek regular dental check-ups
  6. Assure proper fluoride through drinking water, fluoride products or fluoride supplements

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Dr. Dave and his staff