It has been rightly said that once a cavity occurs, the scar persists throughout life, even if the bacteria are eliminated. However, Cavities do not have to be a certainty, they can be reduced to a rarity if you know what causes them and take proper steps to avoid those causes.
In this blog, we will look at the various cavity-causing habits in children so that you can press the brakes on the cavities forming in your child’s mouth today.
How do cavities occur?
Cavities occur when food and bacteria left on the teeth after a meal are not thoroughly cleaned. When that happens, a layer of plaque is formed which contains bacteria. Acid is formed on the tooth, which causes softening of the enamel until a cavity is formed. This cavity further acts as a retentive site for more food and the cycle continues. This makes it imperative to maintain proper oral hygiene to live a cavity-free life.
The myriad of causes that are behind cavities
Dental decay most often preys on the teeth of young children due to their improper brushing habits, infrequent dental visits, and most importantly, ill-timed consumption of sugary snacks between meals.
Sugary snacks between meals
Candies are every child's weakness. Every child loves to indulge in delectable, sugary treats once every few hours. These sweet treats are the food for cavity-causing bacteria. They stick onto your child’s teeth causing the enamel to dissolve and break down.
How to combat this problem
Sugar intake should be reduced and should be replaced by fresh fruits and raw vegetables instead of sugary snacks. If your child wants candy or a sugary snack, it would be preferable to provide it along with a meal. Noshing on sugary foods in between meals is worse for your child’s teeth than eating the same number of sugary treats altogether at the same time, immediately after a meal as the saliva produced to digest larger quantities of food helps keep teeth bacteria-free.
Consuming Sugary Drinks before Bed
Most households follow the routine of “milk before bed" or putting the child to bed with the bottle. When children drink sugary juices just before retiring for the day without cleaning their teeth, the sugar in those drinks sticks onto the teeth, attracting the sugar-feeding bacteria which ultimately leads to decay and cavities. Leaving the milk or juice bottle in the child's mouth is harmful as well, as it leads to the pooling of the juices around the child's teeth leading to the rapid destruction of teeth.
It is advisable to give children nothing but water before bed. Also, if your child consumes a sugary drink before bedtime, make sure they brush their teeth thoroughly and rid their teeth of all the bacteria before going to bed.
Neglecting your child's oral hygiene
Our oral cavities are a cesspool of bacteria and it's no different for your little one. This makes it essential to start with basic oral hygiene even before the first tooth erupts in your child's oral cavity.
Neglecting oral hygiene of your child may cause problems such as generalized decay of teeth, easy bleeding from gums, bad breath, the buildup of plaque, etc.
How to take proper care of your child's mouth
If your child does not have any teeth, gently wipe the gums and cheeks with a soft wet cloth.
As soon as the first tooth erupts, start brushing twice daily.
As more teeth erupt you can inculcate flossing into the daily oral hygiene routine.
Sometimes, a single bad oral habit can wreak havoc in the child's mouth. An example of this is the Mouth breathing habit which is commonly found in many children. But what is the connection between Mouth Breathing and Cavities? A child with a mouth breathing habit has reduced salivary flow which does ot allow the teeth to receive the beneficial effects of saliva making it prone to bacterial attacks leading to cavities.
How to get around the mouth breathing problem?
The simplest way to combat the mouth breathing problem is to ask the child to consciously try to breathe through the mouth. You can also ask your child to practice normal breathing while holding water in their mouth. If these methods don't work, get in touch with a Dentist so that they can perform the necessary intervention at the earliest.
What to do next?
The first thing you must do as a parent is to identify if your child has any of the cavity-causing habits mentioned in this article. Modify your child's habits accordingly. Along with that, it's equally important to consult your dentist regarding the best oral hygiene and diet practices for your child. This can be achieved through regular dental appointments and checkups.
How can regular dental appointments help?
Regular dental visits are essential to maintain and improve dental health. You may think that your child’s teeth appear to be fine and you may subsequently skip your next appointment, but this could lead to grave consequences. Your appointment consists of diagnosing the oral condition of your child as well as an oral prophylaxis, a discussion on developing appropriate dietary and hygiene habits, a detailed treatment plan for the upcoming visits as well as familiarizing the child with the environment of the clinic.
The kid’s dentist at Urbana MD is extremely skilled at introducing young children to the world of oral health and treating them in an encouraging and friendly way. They will be your best guide when it comes to caring for your child’s overall development right from oral hygiene habits to diet plans and more. So take the first steps now and introduce your child to a whole new world of oral care and say bye-bye to cavities.
If you have any additional questions about your child's oral hygiene, please feel free to contact us at Urbana Pediatric Dentistry. To learn more about Urbana Pediatric Dentistry visit our About Us page. For more tips and information feel free to Contact Us and follow us on social media on Instagram @urbanapediatricdentistry and Facebook @urbanapediatricdentistry.