Most of the time cavities are due to a diet high in sugary foods and a lack of brushing.
Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help. The longer it takes your child to chew their food, the longer the residue stays on their teeth and the greater the chances of getting cavities.
Every time someone eats, an acid reaction occurs inside their mouth as the bacteria digests the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time the acid environment can destroy the tooth structure, eventually leading to cavities.
Consistency of a person’s saliva also makes a difference as thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food more quickly. When a person eats diets high in carbohydrates and sugars, they tend to have thicker saliva, which in turn produces more of the acid-producing bacteria that causes cavities.
Tips for cavity prevention
- Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
- Encourage brushing, flossing, and rinsing.
- Watch what you drink.
- Avoid sticky foods.
- Make treats part of meals.
- Choose nutritious snacks.
Cavity Prevention FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What helpful information can you give me regarding tooth decay in infants?
When it comes to tooth decay in infants, the biggest mistake you can make as a parent is putting your baby to bed with a drink. This includes nursing them to sleep if they have teeth. Any form of liquid that is in their mouths while they sleep can lead to increased amounts of acid-producing bacteria which can damage their teeth. Resist the urge to give them a bottle of formula, milk, or juice when you put them to bed. Instead, create a bedtime routine in which you feed your baby, brush their teeth, and then put them to bed. If a drink is needed, offer them water.
What do I do if my child has a toothache?
If your child has a toothache, call and schedule a same-day appointment with us immediately. In the meantime, have them rinse their mouth with cold water and apply an ice pack to help reduce any pain that your child is experiencing. We will do everything we can to see them as soon as possible. It’s common for parents to request antibiotics, but unless there is significant swelling, they will not help the toothache.
How do I know if my child is getting the appropriate amount of fluoride in their diet?
Check with your city to see if it has fluoridated water, and if you have a well, find out if its water has the appropriate amount of natural fluoride in it. If not, children can take fluoride supplements. When you bring your child in for a checkup, we can prescribe supplements according to their age and needs.
Can my child’s diet affect their dental health?
Yes! A diet that is high in sugar increases the likelihood of developing tooth decay. Likewise, a balanced diet fosters healthy teeth and gum tissue development.
Is fruit juice healthy?
Due to the high content level of sugar in fruit juice, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that juice is not a healthy part of a child’s diet and does not recommend it be given to children under the age of 1. Alternatives to juice are whole fresh fruits and water. Even the levels of acidity in watered down fruit juice, a common practice among parents, are still too high to be deemed healthy and are just as likely to lead to tooth decay.