What Raises Your Child’s Risk of Cavities?

kids playing at the playground while eating ice cream

While daily brushing can strengthen your child’s teeth, it is not enough to prevent cavities. Being prone to tooth decay and other dental problems also put your kids at a higher risk. The way you care for your little one’s teeth can also be the culprit, especially if you put them to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. The same is true if you let them munch on foods and drinks that can damage their teeth.

Dentists for kids in Utah share some food items and beverages that can raise your children’s risk of decay:

  • Starchy food – These include chips, crackers, bread, pasta, and others. Starchy food is rich in refined in carbohydrates, which are broken down into sugar. They usually get trapped between the teeth, increasing your risk of tooth decay.
  • Sticky and sweet food – Sugary candies feed the bacteria in your mouth, resulting in a higher risk of developing cavities. The same is also true for sticky treats, as they get stuck into the choppers and are not that easy to rinse or brush away.
  • Carbonated beverages – Drinks like soda are laden with added sugar, as well as citric and phosphoric acid that can soften and wear away the tooth enamel. Kids and teens are susceptible to acid attacks and decay, as their enamel is not completely developed.
  • Fruit juices – Like carbonated beverages, many fruit juices today are high in sugar and acids. Letting your kids sip fruit juice for long hours exposes their teeth to sugars and acids that can attack the teeth and make them prone to decay.

How Cavities Develop

When you let your little ones consume these food items often, you are also feeding the bacteria in their mouth that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Starches and sugars come into contact with plaque (a clear, sticky film of bacteria that cover teeth surfaces) and join forces to create acids. These food make your teeth susceptible to acid attacks and damage for the next 20 minutes.

Repeated acid attacks can soften and break down the enamel of the teeth. This then results in decay or cavities, or a hole in the tooth. Without treatment, the holes can grow bigger and destroy the entire tooth. It is also important to note that the bacteria in the plaque trigger an inflammatory response, causing the breakdown of the bones, gums, and other teeth-supporting structures.

Protecting Your Kid’s Teeth

little boy brushing teeth

Preventing tooth decay starts with good oral hygiene, which includes daily brushing and flossing. A good diet, especially those rich in fiber, especially fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and beverages with fluoridated water, can also help. You can still give your child sugary treats, but make only do so occasionally. You should also make sure that they drink water or brush their teeth after consuming anything sugary.

Dental sealants are also beneficial, as they are proven to prevent tooth decay. These are protective coating placed and sealed onto the back molars. Sealants can stay on the chopper for years and can help prevent cavities in your child’s back teeth. You can ask your dentist about them to find out how sealants can benefit your kid’s oral health.

Don’t let tooth decay invade your little one’s choppers. Make an extra effort and get help from a pediatric dentist to protect and strengthen your child’s teeth.