Dental caries (also known as dental cavities or tooth decay) is caused by bacterial by-products that damage the tooth's hard surface. Dental caries is a very common childhood disease and is in fact 5 times more common than asthma. About 20 percent of children between the ages of 2 and 5 and 50 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 9 have experienced this problem. Populations with low socioeconomic status have a higher prevalence of caries, as well as those who don't maintain oral hygiene. Here are some tips that will help you prevent cavities with your children:
Cavities develop when the bacteria that already live inside our mouth turn the sugar and starch of the food we eat into acids. These acids combined with food debris and saliva, form a substance called plaque that builds up a layer around the teeth and dissolves the hard surfaces of the teeth. This makes it obvious that the consumption of sugar and carbohydrates in general, plays a fundamental role in the development of cavities.
According to the 1945-1953 Vipeholm study, there is a strong association between dental caries and the consumption of foods and drinks that are rich in sugar. Additionally, there are also other dietary factors that have been positively associated with the formation of dental caries, such as the frequency of meals and the sequence of food consumption. Therefore, avoiding the consumption of foods that are rich in sugar and minimizing snacking can be an important step towards dental caries prevention.
Oral hygiene is an essential part of dental caries prevention. This consists of professional cleaning at least 2 times per year, brushing your teeth 1-2 times every day and flossing regularly.
People who have access to fluoridated drinking water or take fluoride supplements have fewer dental caries. Topical fluoride, such as the use of fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash can also be helpful. Fluoride has a pre-eruptive effect and is often recommended as a way to protect against the development of dental cavities and also as a way to control cavities when they do occur. Fluoride binds itself to the hydroxyapatite crystals in the tooth's enamel and as a result it makes the enamel more resistant to decay. However, ingesting excess fluoride can cause a condition called enamel fluorosis, which is aesthetically displeasing.
For further details about Dental Caries Prevention for your child, please contact us at 409-835-6257. Come meet our Pediatric Dentist! We look forward to serving the needs of you and your family.