Cavities are unfortunately common in children. Data from the AAPD’s “The State of Little Teeth” report shows the problem is substantial and growing.
- Of children 2 to 5 years old, 28 percent are affected by tooth decay.
- Among children entering kindergarten, 40 percent have cavities.
- By the age of 5, around 60 percent of children have had at least one cavity.
Cavities are due to an unfortunate combination of bacteria, a diet high in sugary/sticky foods and poor oral hygiene. The acid that is produced from the bacteria and sugar resulting in demineralization of the tooth and over time, a cavity forms.
Limiting sugar intake, avoiding sticky foods and brushing and flossing regularly will help.
Every time someone eats, an acid reaction occurs inside their mouth as the bacteria digests the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time the acid environment can destroy the tooth structure, eventually leading to cavities.
Consistency of a person’s saliva also makes a difference as thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food more quickly. When a person eats diets high in carbohydrates and sugars, they tend to have thicker saliva, which in turn produces more of the acid-producing bacteria that causes cavities.
SOME TIPS FOR CAVITY PREVENTION:
- Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
- Encourage brushing, flossing, and rinsing.
- Watch what you drink, limit sugary beverages.
- Avoid sticky foods (gummy vitamins, candy, fruit snacks/leathers, etc).
- Make treats part of meals.
- Choose nutritious snacks, eat from the earth
- Drink plenty of water
- Cheese is a wonderful, tooth friendly snack