What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral often added to toothpaste and prescribed in supplements. It is also both naturally occurring and often added to water. It fortifies and defends your teeth from decay by making the teeth harder and stronger.

How will sealants help my child?
Sealants are a plastic coating that cover the chewing surfaces of the molars and pre-molars. They can last up to a few years and they help prevent decay in the harder to reach grooves of the teeth. They do not replace the need for regular brushing and flossing, however. Research indicates that a tooth without sealant is 16 times more likely to get a cavity.

Can I benefit from sealants as an adult?
Sealants can be beneficial for pit and fissure decay at any age. Ask your hygienist and Dr. Gradeless if sealants would be a beneficial addition to your preventative care.

What causes tooth decay?
A filmy bacterium called plaque builds up on the teeth. Sugars combine with the plaque bacteria and create an enamel-eating acid. When enough enamel is destroyed by the acid, the teeth begin to decay. Therefore, it is incredibly important to keep your regular dental hygiene appointments as well as your brushing and flossing routine.

Why is it important to prevent decay in baby teeth?
Decay in baby teeth can spread to the permanent teeth growing underneath. Strong, clean teeth are essential for your child’s ability to chew food and thus maintain a healthy diet, as well as their ability to learn to form their mouth in the correct ways to pronounce words. Preventing decay in primary teeth also helps to maintain your child’s overall health and reduce the risk of infections and diseases. It’s also important for children to be proud of their smile as they grow confidence and self-esteem.

How can I help make dental visits a positive experience for my child?
Expect to bring your child for their first visit between 6 months and one year of age. Try to schedule a morning appointment when your child is most likely to be well-rested. Never share scary stories with your child or relay any nerves you have had about visiting previous dentists, as this can negatively taint their experience. Make it a fun day outing, but do not offer them bribes for going. And of course, never frame the trip to the dentist as a punishment.