Cavities are also known as caries and refer to decay in teeth, usually requiring a filling. Nearly all patients that develop cavities have cavities form in the back teeth long before they form in any front teeth. This is largely due to poor oral hygiene habits such as mindless brushing or insufficient brushing and flossing. Cavities also tend to form faster with poor diet, especially when combined with poor brushing and flossing habits.
It is estimated that only a quarter of the country’s children possess nearly 80-percent of the country’s cavities. Pediatric dentistry specializes in the dental care of children, when developing good oral hygiene habits and a foundation of dental facts can set patients up for a lifetime of success. A common misconception, even in adults, is that milk teeth or baby teeth are unimportant and therefore cavities in baby teeth are just expected and have no impact on future oral health.
In reality, cavities in baby teeth can be prevented with a good diet and careful training for good brushing and flossing habits. Cavities that form in baby teeth can promote the growth of future bacteria in the mouth, setting the stage for cavities to form in adult teeth. These cavities are typically located in the molars or back teeth, areas where brushing habits are usually weakest. Regular visits for cleanings and checkups with a children’s dentist can help teach parents and children proper oral hygiene habits to protect teeth for life.
To understand the formation of cavities, it’s important to know that sugar is not the culprit. Instead, the risk of cavities increases with the consumption of carbohydrate-rich foods and beverages, in conjunction with poor brushing and flossing habits leaving harmful bacteria in the mouth. The mouth contains a variety of bacteria and some can be beneficial. Bacteria feed on sugars from carbohydrates and they produce an acid when they consume the sugars. This acid wears down tooth enamel, leaving the tooth vulnerable to cavities.
In addition to a healthy diet, twice-daily brushing, daily flossing, and the use of a fluoride rinse, visiting a children’s dentist for regular checkups and professional cleanings can help stave off cavities and protect teeth and gums. To learn more about developing good oral hygiene habits in children, preventing cavities, reducing risk of cavities, and other beneficial oral health practices, contact our caring team at Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry today!