Dental cavity (tooth decay) has the highest frequency of occurrence amongst people all over the world. It is one of the most common of all disorders, second only to common cold. Dental cavity usually occurs in children and young adults but can affect any person. It is one of the major reasons of tooth loss in younger people. Dental cavities are caused because of improper care of teeth and eating starchy and sticky foods.
The good news is that cavities and other oral diseases that can affect children are preventable and can be easily avoided by taking a proper and regular care.
What are dental cavities and how do they form?
Dental cavities are also known as tooth decays or caries. They show symptoms like tooth ache, holes, damages or craters in the teeth. Tooth decay is caused by specific types of acid-producing bacteria which is present in the mouth. Bacteria converts food, mainly sugar and starch into acid and then combines with acid, saliva and food debris, resulting in the formation of plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance that stays on the teeth. If it holds on to the teeth for a long time, it can cause tooth irritation, infection that can finally result in cavities.
Teach kids to take care of their teeth: Children can begin brushing on their own teeth as early as 2 years of age. It is recommended that you should supervise brushing until your child reaches 8 or 10 years of age. Encourage your child to brush teeth after breakfast and before bed; along with flossing once in a day.
Fluoride Supplements: Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay and can even cure early-stage cavities. Use fluoride toothpaste regularly once your child is able to spit out the excess. Talk with your dentist about fluoride supplements, treatments and mouth rinses. It has been shown that cavities can be reduced as much as 75% by combining sealants with fluoride use.
Sealants: Sealants are special plastic coatings, applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, where cavities usually begin. Sealants basically form a barrier that keeps food and bacteria out of the tiny grooves in the tooth enamel thereby prevents bacterial colonization and tooth decay. The American Dental Association recommends sealant application to all kids at the age of 6 or...
7. Research has shown that kids with sealants on their back teeth have 50% less tooth decay after 15 years than children without sealants.
Healthy and balanced diet: A healthy and nutritive diet is vital to maintain healthy teeth. Consume foods that are rich in calcium, like milk, yoghurt, cheese, and vitamin-rich vegetables.
Avoid sweets, especially soda both diet & regular, energy drinks, gatorade, gum, candy and mints, these foods contain decay causing acids and sugar.
Wear mouth guards when playing sports: Mouth guards are recommended to protect your child’s teeth during any sport having high risk of falls or head injuries. The American Dental Association estimates that mouth guards prevent approximately 200,000 dental injuries each year.
Avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle of juice or milk: Put only water if child needs a bottle to fall asleep. Putting milk or juice in a bottle at the time of sleep can be the biggest contributor to early cavities.
Regular dental checkups: Develop good dental care habits in your child as early as possible along with regular checkups. Your dentist can monitor changes in your child’s oral health and suggest corrective or preventive measures.
Although dental caries is largely preventable, it remains the most common chronic disease of children as per CDC. And once dental caries are formed, they require immediate treatment. If it remains untreated for a long time; the cavity grows larger and become more expensive to repair. You can even loose your affected natural teeth, permanently. Add dental care in your daily to do list and protect your child from developing dental cavities by following practical and easy preventive tips.
Always remember that sticky and sweet rule means, if your food is sticky and sweet, it’s likely bad for your teeth.