Good oral hygiene and avoidance of excessive sugar consumption is the foundation for healthy teeth. When we begin this practice at an early age, we see excellent results. The scientific literature is filled with studies that have been done that tout the importance of fluoride in the fight against cavities.
We like to see children as soon as teeth begin to develop. It is then that we have the opportunity to evaluate a child's development and to assess whether certain actions may be helpful in preventing oral health problems. We strongly advocate a program of regular periodic maintenance that includes optimal oral hygiene, applications of topical fluorides and sealants and adoption of a diet that is low in sugar consumption.
A new ally in the fight against tooth decay for people of all ages may well be the alternative sugar called xylitol. This natural sugar is derived from birch trees and other plants. Xylitol has a number of positive health benefits; however in dentistry, it has the ability to selectively destroy the bacteria in our mouths that cause tooth decay. It has been shown that regular consumption of xylitol (4 – 12 grams per day) can change the balance of bacteria in the mouth to actually allow teeth to remineralize in some cases – reverse tooth decay.