Most dental patients only want to hear one thing during an appointment, “No cavities!”. Unfortunately, this isn’t being said by dentists as much nowadays, especially to our children. The two main reasons cavities are often even more common in children are poor diet and inadequate oral hygiene.
How Diet Leads to Cavities
Diets high in sugar are the main reason children are suffering from more cavities. When sugar combines with bacteria in the mouth, it produces acid. This acid penetrates teeth and erodes enamel, which is what leads to cavities. The most common foods and drinks that increase oral acidity are:
- Ice Cream
- Soft Drinks
- Diet Soft Drinks
- Sports Energy Drinks
Anything that has a high amount of sugar can cause cavities. The only way to limit the amount of sugar is to look at nutrition labels. Children should consume less than six teaspoons or 25 grams of sugar a day.
In addition to limiting the amount of sugar children consume, good oral hygiene is important.
How Inadequate Oral Hygiene Leads to Cavities
It can be difficult to limit sugar consumption all the time. Even a small amount of sugar can cause enough acid in the mouth to cause cavities. Usually, this is because the sugar sits in the mouth for long periods of time. This is especially true when someone consumes a sugary food or drink and then goes to sleep for several hours without brushing or flossing the bacteria out of the mouth. The acid sits in the mouth, erodes tooth enamel, and then leads to cavities.
Cavity Prevention Tips
Dentists recommend brushing and flossing in the morning after breakfast, after lunch, and then before bedtime. Brushing and flossing keeps the amount of acid in the mouth at a low level decreasing the chance of cavities and tooth decay.
Pediatric dentists recommend that parents brush their children’s teeth as soon as they can be seen. Baby brushes are perfect for this and not only can they remove bacteria from the teeth, but it gets them comfortable with having the brush in their mouth. Around age 2, a child should be trying to hold the brush and spit. A small amount of children’s toothpaste can be used at this time as well.
Even though young children may not consume a lot of sugar, some bacteria exist. Brushing and flossing can help children rid their mouth of bacteria and get them in the habit of good oral hygiene for when they do start consuming more sugary foods and drinks.
In addition to brushing and flossing at least twice a day, parents should take their children to a dentist for kids. Pediatric dentists specialize in examining baby teeth and ensure adult teeth are coming through correctly. This also helps children get comfortable seeking care from a dentist.
Contact Our Pediatric Dentist in Coralville, Cedar Rapids, or Muscatine
If you’re looking for a dentist who can give your child a great dental appointment experience, contact Iowa Pediatric Dental Center. We have dentists for kids who not only know what to look for in children’s oral health but take the time to ensure they feel comfortable with their care.