Dental Health for Children: Cavities
Normal Cavity Formation
One of the most basic things we all learn, at a very very early age for most, is where cavities come from and what causes them.
Sugar is the primary culprit.... Bacteria somehow linger on our teeth and the sugar "feeds" the process of cavity formation.
In more technical terms, the sugars are converted into acids that eat away at our teeth.
Did you know that cavities are the most common disease in children?
Managing sugar intake for our children, however, is a bit more complicated today since so many food products (including soda pop, soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks and an abudance of fruit juice products) may not even list sugar as a significant ingredient.
Rather, the term "sugar" may be replaced with a variety of fructose products and syrups that contain sugar-like compounds. Natural foods or fruits, like grapes, grape juice, raisins, apple juice and many other sweet tasting foods may contain a sugar componenent... without it being listed as an ingredient.
Cookies, fruit bars, cereals, candy snacks and even some fast foods can routinely contain sugar products. Good, routine tooth care can keep cavities from happening though.
Unusual (abnormal) Cavity Formation
Some children (and adults) may have an unusual propensity for cavity formation. The popular term of "soft enamel" is often used to explain away the problem of frequent caries.
Your child might be at risk if he or she has any of the following factors:
- Born prematurely
- Low birth weight
- Ongoing special health care needs
- White or brown spotted teeth
- Does not go to the dentist very often
How to Help Stop Cavities
Simply put... everyone in the family should take good care of their teeth. Difficult to believe, family members with severe or numerous cavities can pass the cavity - causing bacteria to babies and children.
We all should be brushing our teeth at least twice daily. Adults need to floss once a day.
Everyone should see the dentist twice a year. Ask your dentist for help in teaching your child how to brush their teeth in the right way.
Review our Fluoride page for additional tips.