Fighting back against plaque

The good news is, you can take a stand against plaque! By brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and by reducing the number of times you snack each day, you and your family can help prevent tooth decay.

When it comes to snacking, it’s best to choose something nutritious and to snack in moderation. It’s also better to eat the whole snack at one time! Here’s why: eating five pieces of a snack at one time exposes your teeth to possible tooth decay — for approximately 20 minutes. Nibbling on those same five pieces at five different times exposes your teeth to possible tooth decay for approximately 100 minutes. What a difference!

You need to watch baby’s sweets, too!

Infants are just as susceptible to decay as older children and adults. In fact, Early Childhood Cavities can be a very serious condition. See the Preventing Early Childhood Cavities section below for more information.

The dental checkup
The dentist is your family’s partner on the Bright Smiles, Bright Futures® pathway. Be sure to schedule regular dental appointments for the whole family. A child’s first visit should take place before his or her third birthday.

Dental checkups early in a child’s life allow children to have a positive dental health experience. TIP: Take your young toddler with you to your own appointment first. That way, the dental office becomes a familiar place.
Your dental checkup: what to expect

Fluoride treatments:

Your dentist may treat your child’s teeth with extra fluoride in the form of a gel to make teeth stronger. This gel goes in a tray that fits into the mouth that children wear for a few minutes to let the fluoride sink into their teeth. It comes in neat flavors for kids!

Dental sealants:

These are thin, protective plastic coatings applied by the dentist to the permanent back teeth (molars). They fill in the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the teeth where foods and bacteria can get stuck and cause cavities. Once applied, sealants can last for several years.


These “pictures” show the dentist what’s going on inside the teeth and beneath the gum line. During the X-ray, your child will wear a lead apron to prevent unnecessary exposure to radiation.

Preventing early childhood cavities (sometimes known as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay)
Early Childhood Cavities is a childhood disease that can be prevented. The following steps can help guard your baby against this painful condition – and ask your dentist or physician for more information.

It’s best not to put a bottle in bed with your baby. But if you must put a bottle in bed with your baby, put only plain water in it. Any liquid except water, even milk and juice, can cause cavities.

You can use a bottle to feed your baby at regular feeding times, but allowing the bottle to be used as a pacifier can be a major cause of cavities.

Hold your baby while feeding him/her. If your baby falls asleep, remove the bottle and put him/her in bed.
Avoid putting your baby to sleep with a bottle.
Avoid letting your toddler walk around with a bottle.

Dental equipment or dental handpiece for more information.