What causes cavities in children?
Cavities in children, also known as tooth decay or caries, are caused by a combination of factors, including bacteria in your mouth, frequent snacking, sipping sugary drinks, and not cleaning your teeth well.
Are cavities prominent in children?
According to the centers for disease control and prevention, 20 percent of children from ages five to 11 have at least one untreated decayed or decaying tooth. Therefore, it’s essential to schedule a dental visit to ensure your child is free of cavities.
What happens to untreated cavities in children?
An untreated cavity can lead to an infection in the tooth called a tooth abscess. Eventually, untreated tooth decay destroys the tooth pulp. Unfortunately, the tooth’s infected pulp will not heal independently and requires pediatric pulp therapy. In this case, contact our office to learn more about your options.
How to help your child keep cavities away
You can reduce your child’s chances of developing cavities by forming good oral habits early. For instance, teach kids to brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss regularly. Without a doubt, regular use of fluoride toughens the enamel, making it harder for acid to penetrate.
How to strengthen children’s tooth enamel
Obviously, practicing good oral habits is the best first step in protecting tooth enamel. Basically, tooth enamel is the white, visible part of the tooth and the first line of protection against plaque and cavities. So let’s review ways to strengthen your child’s tooth enamel.
Avoid sugary foods and drinks
As you know, bacteria feed off the sugar in your teeth, causing plaque and eventually cavities. With this in mind, you can protect tooth enamel by limiting the number of sugary foods and drinks your child consumes.
Add calcium-rich foods
Calcium can neutralize damaging acids and remineralize the enamel to protect the teeth. In addition, calcium strengthens the tooth enamel, which is your teeth’s protection against erosion and cavities.
Brush and floss regularly
Brushing and flossing regularly remove any food debris between the teeth and gums. Any food particles left on your child’s teeth will lead to bacteria growth and eventually enamel erosion and ultimately cause cavities. Therefore it is imperative to brush twice a day, for two minutes at a time, and floss once a day.
Rinse after meals
One of the best and easy ways to get rid of food debris from your child’s mouth is rinsing with water immediately after meals. It’s best to have your child swish water in their mouth for 30 seconds and then spit it into a sink.
Limit citrus intake
One of the essential habits to break is the intake of food and drinks with high levels of citric acid. However, since citric acid erodes tooth enamel through demineralization, limiting the intake is necessary.
Use fluoridated toothpaste
Fluoridated toothpaste strengthens enamel in a process called remineralization. When you choose fluoridated toothpaste for your child, check to see if it has the ADA seal of approval to ensure safe and meets national standards.
Consider dental sealants
Once your child’s permanent teeth have erupted, it’s time to consider dental sealants to prevent cavities. In detail, permanent teeth have pits and fissures where food can get stuck. Unfortunately, the food breaks down into harmful bacteria that can cause tooth decay and cavities. Dental sealants are plastic-like coverings that fill the pits and fissures so that food can’t get stuck there.
Schedule a dental cleaning
Ongoing dental cleanings prevent the onset of early childhood tooth decay. Even more, untreated cavities cause pain and infections that may lead to eating, speaking, playing, and learning problems. For sure, early cavity detection is essential for optimum oral health. Schedule a dental cleaning to make sure your child’s teeth are cavity-free.