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Cavities In Baby Teeth – What You Need To Know

Adults aren’t the only ones who can develop cavities. Unfortunately, those pesky black spots can show up on kid’s teeth, too. So what causes tooth decay and how can you help your child develop good habits to prevent it? Let’s dive a little deeper into dental caries or, as they’re commonly known, cavities.

What Are Cavities?

Cavities occur when bacteria waste eats away the tooth enamel. Cavities need three things to form: a tooth, bacteria, and fermentable carbohydrates. These carbohydrates come in obvious forms, like sugary treats, but also in less obvious forms like bread, dried fruit, milk, and juice. When the carbs in these foods come in contact with the bacteria on your teeth, it forms an acid that has the potential to break down tooth enamel. The longer the food stays on the tooth, the more likely a cavity will form.

Ways To Prevent Cavities On Your Child’s Teeth

Cavity prevention often comes down to what your child eats, when your child eats, and how you take care of your child’s teeth after they eat. Try these ideas to keep encourage good dental hygiene and keep cavities at bay:

  1. No sugary drinks in bed – Drinks like juice and milk are full of sugars that can cause tooth decay. While usually fine during the day, allowing your child to have these drinks in their bottle or sippy cup at night gives the cavity-causing sugars more time in contact with their teeth, potentially leading to Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. Swap out water for juice or milk before bed!
  2. Encourage a healthy diet – Sugary drinks aren’t the only culprit. Any foods containing sugar or starches can encourage acid formation that leads to tooth decay. Encourage your child to choose healthy snacks and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  3. Diligent brushing and flossing – Start a dental hygiene routine with your kids early. Cavities don’t occur overnight and consistently brushing and flossing your child’s teeth will help prevent cavities from forming.
  4. Use a fluoride toothpaste – Fluoride is a mineral that helps fight against, or even reverse, tooth decay. Using a small amount of fluoride toothpaste can slow enamel breakdown.
  5. Visit your dentist for regular check-ups – During dental cleanings and examinations your dentist will remove plaque buildup that can lead to cavities and check for areas of tooth decay.

Cavity Treatment For Children

Sometimes in spite of our best efforts, cavities develop. Your dentist can walk you through dental plans. Ask the Dr. Whittemore or Dr. Barsetti at Pediatric Dentistry if you have questions about preventing or treating cavities on your child’s teeth.