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Risk Factors and Prevention


  • Bacteria
    • Tooth decay is a preventable chronic disease.
    • The bacteria, known as streptococcus mutans, that causes tooth decay is infectious and spreadable.
    • Sharing items such as eating utensils, cups, bites of food and kissing can pass the bacteria from person to person.
    • For helpful tips, visit Mouth Healthy or click here.
  • Snacks & Drinks
    • The bacteria in your mouth combines with sugars in the foods we eat and drink, which produces acid that can damage teeth, causing cavities to form or erosion to occur.
    • Sugary drinks include soda, fruit punch or juice, energy drinks, sports drinks and more.
    • Foods include sticky snacks such as cookies, crackers, candy, dried fruit, chips, gummies and more.
    • For healthy food and beverage recommendations, visit ChooseMyPlate and Rethink Your Drink.


  • Floss, Brush, Dentist
    • Recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) is to clean between your teeth daily, brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes, and visit a Dentist regularly. To learn more visit Mouth Healthy.
  •  Pregnancy
  • First Tooth, First Visit! 
    • A child’s first dental visit should take place after the first tooth appears, but no later than the first birthday. Why so early? As soon as a baby has teeth, he or she can get cavities. Visit Mouth Healthy for more information on children's oral health.
  • Fluoride Varnish
    • Dental caries (cavities) remains the most common chronic disease of children and adolescents. Applying fluoride varnish to teeth is an effective way to prevent tooth decay, slow it down or stop it from getting worse and treatments can be done in a medical office, by a dentist, at a school or community event.
  • Dental Sealant
    • Germs in the mouth use the sugar in foods and drinks to make acids, which over time can make a cavity in the tooth. Sealants are thin, plastic coatings painted on the back teeth that harden to form a shield over the tooth to keep out germs and food. For more information and to view a video clip on sealants visit Mouth Healthy.
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