This column will appear biweekly Submit your questions to Mr. Toothy by writing to

Question:    Dear Mr. Toothy,
What are cavities and why is there such a big hoopla about them?
Alex, age 7.

Answer:    Dear Alex,
Cavities are unwanted holes in teeth that will sooner or later cause the teeth to breakdown and become useless to their owner. Can you imagine eating and smiling without teeth? Not only that, teeth with cavities in them can cause pain and keep you from going to school or doing all the fun things.

A cavity is made by plaque which is a mushy mess of left-over foods and drinks that are stuck on teeth.The germs living in our mouth (Strep. Mutans—they do sound like aliens but they are real) eat this plaque and turn it into acid, which then melt and make holes in the tooth. The germs particularly love sugary foods and drinks.

Question:    Dear Mr. Toothy,
I think that cavity germs are eeky. How do I get rid of them?
Julia, age 3.

Answer:    Dear Julia,
Here is the secret to getting rid of those cavity germs.

  • Brush and floss your teeth after breakfast and before bedtime everyday. Have a grown-up help you reach those back teeth with the toothbrush and floss.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste (germs don’t like the taste of fluoride) but learn to spit it out as you brush.
  • Only get sweet drinks and candies at special times like parties, then brush your teeth or drink water right after you have the sweets. Throw away candies like lollipop, gummies, fruit roll-ups, and go easy on juices and dried chewy fruits. Eat lots of crunchy veggies and fruits.
  • Visit your dentist often for check-ups and to get more ideas on how to get rid of cavity germs.

Question:    Dear Mr. Toothy,
My mom says water and milk are the best drinks for my body and my teeth. Is it true?
Raymond, age 2.

Answer:    Dear Raymond,
Your mom is right. Milk gives your body lots of calcium to help your bones grow. Water does not have sugar and helps your body get rid of toxic stuff. Milk is great when you drink it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but be careful not to drink it after you have brushed or during the night when you are thirsty. At night, your mouth dries out, and the little of milk that stayed on your teeth can feed the cavity germs. If you are really thirsty, water is always great.

Question:    Dear Mr. Toothy,
Halloween is coming and I love candies, can I eat all of them? Tom, age 5.

Answer:    Dear Tom,
Happy Halloween! This is a fun time for all children and Mr. Toothy wishes you a very spooky celebration. Remember to bring a flashlight, do not go into a stranger’s house, and say thank you. Try to give all the sticky and chewy candies to your parents (they will know what to do with the candies). Keep the chocolate and other candies that can melt quickly. Make sure you floss, brush your teeth, and rinse with a fluoride rinse before bed. Your teeth will thank you for it.

Question:    Dear Mr. Toothy,
Why do I need to floss? Kate, age 4.

Answer:    Dear Kate,
As you grow, your teeth move closer together (they are a chummy bunch, aren’t they?). When teeth are tight, food and plaque can get stuck in between. Your toothbrush is too big to reach the food between the teeth and cavities can form there. Flossing every night removes the food and prevents cavities between your teeth.

Question:    Dear Mr. Toothy,
Is it ok if I eat all the toothpaste? Bobby, age 3.

Answer:    Dear Bobby,
Toothpaste is great for your teeth, but not so great for your tummy or your body. Swallowing too much toothpaste can make you sick and throw up. The fluoride in the toothpaste can cause yellow and white stains on your permanent teeth. So make sure that you learn how to spit out when you brush. Always have mom or dad give squirt out the toothpaste for you.