What Causes Cavities in Baby Teeth and How to Prevent It
Children’s baby or primary teeth may be temporary but are very important for a child’s overall development. They aid in the development of speech, jaw and facial muscles, as well as maintain the space and proper positioning for future adult teeth. Proper care as early as infancy should be taken to ensure teeth grow healthy and strong.
In caring for babies’ teeth, cavities are always the challenge. Also known as dental caries or more commonly as tooth decay, cavities are bacterial infections in the teeth that cause the demineralization of hard tissues and destroy the organic matter in the tooth. If neglected, it can cause pain, tooth loss and other infections. Most people accuse sugar as the primary cause of cavities. It is true however sugar alone does not cause it. Sugar by itself is not the problem but the bacteria that feasts on sugar and other fermentable carbohydrates left in the teeth. The bacteria produce acid that destroys the teeth. Another factor that affects cavities is the anatomy of a child’s teeth. Deep grooves make cleaning difficult thereby increasing the chances of tooth decay.
To avoid cavities, many parents tend to avoid giving their children sugary foods but more often than not, it just can’t be avoided. For babies, it is less difficult to do since parents have better control of what their baby eats. Breastfed babies have been found to be less susceptible to cavities but bottle-fed babies need more attention. Parents should avoid putting a child to bed with a bottle of formula or other liquid since these may contain sugars that are trapped in the mouth and increase the chances of tooth decay.. As a baby begins to eat solid foods, diet becomes an important part in preventing cavities. Fruits, vegetables, and lots of water should be encouraged as children continue to grow to avoid cavities.
As soon as baby tooth comes out, regular care can also help in fighting cavities. Some dentists recommend cleaning baby’s gums much earlier. This can be done with the use of a damp washcloth or gauze. Around the age of 1 year, parents can use a soft baby toothbrush with a small amount of toothpaste. Brushing twice a day, once especially at night can help reduce the acids that cause decay. As a child grows, flossing should also be introduced for a child’s proper dental care. Regular brushing and flossing can get rid of bacterial plaque and ensures that every surface and the difficult grooves are reached keeping the mouth cavity-free. For complete care, regular visits to a pediatric dentist should also be included. Trips to the dentist should start around the first year and continue twice ever year thereafter. A pedodontist can help take care of children’s teeth early to avoid possible problems and teach parents how to help care for their children’s teeth.
For parents in Las Vegas Smile Reef Pediatric Dentistry makes dentist visits fun, safe and inviting to children. Dr. Jaren Jensen and his staff take good care of babies and help parents ensure great dental health for their kids.