How do I keep my children from getting cavities?
You need three things to get a cavity:
1. A tooth
3. Food for the bacteria.
It’s that simple; simple enough that if you take one thing away you don’t get a cavity. The question is how do we make sure that it’s not the tooth?
Almost all people get teeth, and almost all teeth are good teeth. There is a very small percentage of people with bad enamel, but that is something we will not even discuss.
The real trick is controlling the bacteria and the food given to the bacteria. We get the bacteria in our mouths from other people, generally our primary caregiver, (typically our mother or father,) as a baby. Because of all the contact the baby has with that person, if that person has a lot of cavities, it only makes sense they are giving the baby lots of bad bacteria. We then have to limit the amount of food the bacteria are given so they can’t make cavities.
The bacteria that cause cavities live on sugar and carbohydrates. The problem is that almost everything we eat contains a carbohydrate. We can’t stop eating, so managing what we eat is the only option. By limiting how often we eat carbohydrates it gives our body the chance to fix any damage done to the teeth when we eat. This means that we can’t let our kids sip or snack frequently. Another thing that helps is giving our kids healthy options for snacks so that they feel full longer and don’t need to constantly snack.
There are few things more precious than our children, and we would do most anything to protect them.
However, almost 3 out of 10 children from 2-5 years old have cavities. The number skyrockets to 5 out of 10 in kids ages 6-11!
For the past forty years, we have seen a decrease in cavities overall, but recently, the number of cavities in children is starting to climb.
In fact, cavities are the most prevalent infectious disease in our children. Cavities in baby teeth can affect children’s growth, result in significant pain and potentially life-threatening infection, and diminish overall quality of life. We can fill cavities on children of all ages, but if we can start now to take proactive measures to protect healthy teeth, then perhaps this disease can be lessened, or stopped completely.
Many people ask how they could have stopped cavities after they are already there. Starting early is the key to stopping this disease, ideally, beginning when the infant is around 6 months of age. A risk assessment by a qualified health professional for infants by 6 months of age allow for an appropriate plan to be put in place as the baby teeth erupt.
Plan for mother or intimate caregivers:
Oral hygiene: Tooth-brushing and flossing on a daily basis are important to reduce bacteria levels.
Diet: Keeping foods that contain sugar and carbohydrates with meals to allow the body to heal their teeth.
Fluoride: Using a toothpaste containing fluoride,
Dental care: Seeing a dentist on a regular basis to help make a plan, and remove decay from the mouth
Delay transfer of cavity causing bacteria: Parents, especially mothers, transfer bacteria to their children by sharing utensils (eg. shared spoons, cleaning a dropped pacifier with their spit), food, and cups with their infants/children.
Plan for Infants/toddlers:
Oral Hygiene: Starting to brush teeth as soon as they come in, and floss as soon as the teeth are touching each other.
Diet: After the first baby teeth come in restricting bottle/breast feeding to normal meal times and not allowing the infant to feed at will or while sleeping.
Fluoride: Optimal exposure to fluoride is important to all infants and children with teeth. Fluoride needs are unique for each individual and should be discussed with your healthcare provider.
Make an Appointment Today
If your child needs cosmetic dental services, you can trust the pediatric dentistry professionals at Castle Creek Pediatric Dentistry. We proudly serve the North Ogden and Harrisville areas, along with the rest of Weber County. Call1-801-590-7929 to schedule your first visit today.