Cavity Prevention

Cavities are often caused due to a combination of:

  1. presence of bacteria that cause cavities
  2. a diet rich in sugars/carbohydrates
  3. inadequate oral hygiene (brushing and flossing)

In order to prevent cavities it is necessary to tackle all three factors. All children are exposed to cavity-causing bacteria at a young age. Fortunately, the amount of bacteria can be limited through proper oral hygiene. The next portion of the equation is diet modification. Sugars feed the cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth which results in a significant pH drop for about 20 minutes. When the pH is low the acidic environment can damage the tooth structure, eventually leading to cavities. Simply by reducing the frequency of carbohydrates/sugars in the diet you can reduce the frequency of exposures to this acidic process. In addition to diet modification, improving oral hygiene is critical to reduce the amount of time the cavity-causing bacteria stay on your child’s teeth. A proper oral hygiene routine involves brushing twice a day with fluoride-containing toothpaste and flossing once daily. It is important to remember that nighttime brushing must be done after the last snack or meal has been eaten.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of the cavity process, here are some important tips for cavity prevention:

  • Encourage brushing, flossing and rinsing with water after meals
  • Brush with a small amount of fluoride-containing toothpaste
  • Limit frequency of snacks and sugar-containing drinks!! (i.e. juice, soda, and sports drinks)
  • Do not put your child to bed with a bottle or sippy cup
  • Sippy cups should be discontinued after age 1 unless it only contains water
  • Make treats/dessert a part of a meal, not a snack
  • Choose nutritious snacks that are good for teeth (such as cheese, yogurt, veggies and fresh fruits)
  • Avoid sticky foods

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