What is a cavity? Cavities, also called dental caries are holes in teeth that can get bigger and deeper over time. These holes are caused by tooth decay which originates from plaque. Plaque is a colorless, sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on your teeth and is the main cause of tooth decay. The bacteria in plaque reacts with sugar in the foods we eat and the beverages we drink. Then acids are produced and will attack and weaken the enamel of our teeth. This is something we don’t want because the enamel of our teeth is the hard, protective coating. When enamel breaks down, teeth are left unprotected, making it easier for cavities to develop. We need to brush and floss every day to remove plaque. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that tooth decay is the most preventable chronic disease in children. Toddler tooth decay should be on every parents radar because 42% of children ages 2 to 11 develop a cavity in their primary teeth according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
Where Can Cavities Form on Teeth?
1. Biting surface of teeth. The grooves and crevices on the top of our teeth can trap plaque and are more prone to decay in children because they haven’t mastered brushing techniques yet.
2. Between teeth. The areas between the teeth can be hard to reach and are difficult for toothbrushes to get to. These areas need to be flossed to prevent plaque buildup.
3. On root surfaces of teeth. These areas are more often affected in those who have suffered gum recession or bone loss. This area is also more susceptible in older people. Plaque left on exposed teeth can develop into cavities because the roots of teeth don’t have enamel protection.
Ways to Reverse Tooth Decay & Prevent Dental Cavities
1. Start brushing teeth early. Start rubbing your baby’s gums with gauze early on and when teeth start to appear, you can use a baby toothbrush and water to clean your baby’s teeth. As they get older you can get larger toothbrushes but help them until they are 8 to 10 years old as they don’t have the coordination to do it themselves until then. Start getting in the habit of flossing when your child’s teeth start to touch and monitor them until they have the hang of it.
2. Early dental visits. It’s recommended that your child starts making trips to the dentist when they are a year old. This gets them used to seeing the dentist and the dentist will be able to monitor the growth and development of their teeth.
3. Healthy snacks & drinks. To prevent the bacteria from food and drinks attacking teeth, it’s good to have your children enjoy snacks and drinks with as little sugar as possible.
4. Get enough fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that will help strengthen the enamel of the teeth and helps make them more resistant to decay. Talk with your dentist to make sure your child is getting enough.
5. Dental sealants. Think of sealants as little protective coats for your teeth. Sealants are clear barriers that are applied to the top of teeth for protection from decay.
Scheduling regular visits to the dentist throughout your child’s life is very important in preventing dental problems. Contact Smile Reef to make appointment to have their teeth examined today!