Preventing Kids Tooth Decay

Your team at Brink & White Pediatric Dental Associates wants you to avoid tooth decay and cavities, because we care about your child. Practicing good hygiene avoids unhealthy teeth and costly treatment.

What Is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is a progressive disease resulting in the interaction of bacteria that naturally occur on the teeth and sugars in the everyday diet. Sugar causes a reaction in the bacteria, causing it to produce acids that break down the mineral in teeth, forming a cavity.

Your dentists at Brink & White remove the decay and fill the tooth using a variety of fillings, restoring the tooth to a healthy state.

Nerve damage can result from severe decay and may require a crown (a crown is like a large filling that can cap a tooth, making it stronger or covering it).

Avoiding unnecessary decay simply requires strict adherence to a dental hygiene regimen: brushing and flossing twice a day, regular dental checkups, diet control and fluoride treatment. Practicing good hygiene avoids unhealthy teeth and costly treatment.


The grooves and depressions that form the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are extremely difficult to clean of bacteria and food.

As the bacteria reacts with the food, acids form and break down the tooth enamel, causing cavities. Recent studies indicate that 88 percent of total cavities in American school children are caused this way.

Tooth sealants protect these susceptible areas by sealing the grooves and depressions, preventing bacteria and food particles from residing in these areas.

Sealant material is a resin typically applied to the back teeth, molars and premolars and areas prone to cavities. It lasts for several years but needs to be checked during regular appointments.


Fluoride is a substance that helps teeth become stronger and resistant to decay. Regularly drinking water treated with fluoride and brushing and flossing daily ensures significantly lower numbers of cavities.

Your dentist at Brink & White can evaluate the level of fluoride in your child’s main source of drinking water and recommend fluoride supplements (usually in tablets or drops), if necessary.


Sucking is a natural reflex that relaxes and comforts babies and toddlers. Children usually cease thumb sucking when the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt.

Typically, children stop between the ages of two and four years old. Thumb-sucking that persists beyond the eruption of primary teeth can cause improper growth of the mouth and misalignment of the teeth.

If you notice prolonged and/or vigorous thumb-sucking behavior in your child, talk to our dentists at Brink & White Pediatric Dental Associates.

Ways to Help Your Child Stop Sucking Their Thumb

Here are some ways to help your child outgrow thumb-sucking:

  • Don’t scold a child when they suck their thumb; instead, praise them when they don’t suck their thumb
  • Focus on eliminating the cause of anxiety—thumb-sucking is a comfort device that helps children cope with stress or discomfort
  • Praise them when they refrain from the habit during difficult periods. Place a bandage on the thumb or a sock on their hand at night