Does your child have cavities even after you’ve worked so hard to prevent them? Contrary to popular belief, reducing sugary treats and brushing teeth frequently is sometimes not enough to prevent childhood dental decay. Besides oral hygiene, our Duncan, OK dentist explains four reasons why your child may still have cavities despite your best efforts to protect his or her teeth.
1. High-Carb Diet
Did you know that cavity-causing bacteria love more than just sweets? Any food that contains fermentable carbohydrates can feed cavity-causing bacteria. Fermentable carbohydrates are carbs that break down into sugars while still inside the mouth and include sugary and starchy foods, such as candy, white bread, and potato chips. Even in small amounts, sugary and starchy foods can be more destructive throughout the day than a single high-sugar snack or dessert.
Additionally, fermentable carbohydrates that linger, such as dried fruit or caramel, cause more damage than foods that are cleared out of the mouth quickly, like ice cream or yogurt. Moreover, parents are encouraged to restrict sugary drinks to mealtime. Water is an optimal choice for kids to sip throughout the day.
2. Baby Bottle Decay
Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often referred to as “baby bottle decay.” Even though permanent teeth will eventually replace primary teeth, baby teeth are still susceptible to decay and must be protected. Healthy, strong teeth help children speak, chew their food, and make sure that adult teeth arrive and form appropriately. It’s also necessary to mention that cavity-causing bacteria are transmitted from person to person through saliva.
It’s essential to reduce a child’s contact with the saliva of parents and other children. The good news is that baby bottle decay is preventable, and here are some ways to avoid it:
- Do not share utensils, toys, or other objects that may have come into contact with someone else’s saliva
- Fill bottles with breast milk, formula, or milk only
- Avoid filling bottles with juice and soft drinks
- Do not send babies or toddlers to sleep with bottles
- Encourage children to drink from a cup by their first birthday
- Monitor young children when brushing teeth (and start using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste at age three.)
3. Mouth Breathing
When people breathe through their mouths instead of their noses, saliva flow restricts as their mouths dry out. A dry mouth changes pH level and can make the mouth a more corrosive environment. An acidic, parched mouth facilitates dental decay and cannot rinse out the harmful bacteria that erode teeth.
4. Enamel Defects
Dental enamel is the hard, outermost layer of the teeth. Enamel shields the soft, sensitive inner tooth against daily biting and chewing forces. Unfortunately, dental enamel does not always shape properly and can lead to several types of defects, including dental enamel hypoplasia. Enamel hypoplasia is characterized by thin or absent enamel and is more susceptible to decay.
Discover a Duncan, OK Dentist
If your child keeps getting cavities and you’re unsure why it’s time to contact a family dentist. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Bridges, call 580-255-4880 or get in touch with us through our online contact page today.