Cavities, also known as dental caries, are the small holes in the teeth that cause tooth decay. Cavities cause the tooth enamel to be damaged.
There are two main reasons why we get cavities. First, cavities start because of the bacteria build up in the hard surface of the teeth. Second, cavities are triggered by the accumulation of sugar and starch in the teeth and gums.
If left uncleaned, the bacteria or sugary substance that stayed in the mouth convert into plaque. This then becomes acidic, dissolving the affected part of the tooth enamel and creating little holes in the teeth. This indicates an early stage of cavities. After attacking the enamel, the bacteria-filled acid then advances to the deeper and softer layer of the tooth called dentin.
Cavities can be very damaging and painful when it has penetrated the deepest layer of the tooth called pulp. At this point, the pulp and possibly the bone supporting the tooth may be irritated and decayed already. Cavities that are this bad can lead to tooth sensitivity, toothache, and even tooth breakage.
But take heart! As the saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’. And your dentists at Kidsmile wants your child to have the best oral health as he or she grows. We have listed below some practical tips that you and your child can do together in order to prevent cavities from ruining your child’s teeth and smile:
✓ Make it a habit to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
✓ After brushing, do not forget to floss, especially ‘the in-between’ of your child’s teeth.
✓ Eat healthy and balanced meals. Limit your child’s snacking too, if possible!
✓ We recommend that you consider the use of supplemental fluoride – to strengthen your child’s teeth. And if applicable, dental sealants – the thin, protective coating to the tooth enamel, as sealants act as a shield for your child’s teeth to prevent cavities and tooth decay.
✓ Regularly visit your child’s pediatric dentist – we recommend 2x a year – for oral examination and professional cleaning.
We know that cavities and tooth decay can be worrying for both you and your kids. Nevertheless, there are things that we can do as parents to help in preventing it. Regular dental care, healthy eating habits, and routine dental visits are essential steps in achieving overall dental health.
Cavities, MouthHealthy.org by American Dental Association (https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/c/cavities)
What Causes Cavities: Formation and Prevention, Colgate (https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/cavities/what-causes-cavitites-formation-and-prevention-0314)
Dantal Cavities (Dental Caries), MedicineNet (https://www.medicinenet.com/cavities/article.htm)
The Surprising Truth About Cavities, Parents / MyChildrensteeth.org (http://www.mychildrensteeth.org/assets/2/7/1718.pdf)