You brush your child's teeth religiously, limit the consumption of sugary foods and take them to regular dentist visits. Yet, your child still gets cavities.
Tooth decay in children is a complex phenomenon, and it can be influenced by much more than how often you brush your child's teeth.
So, here's why your kid may be getting cavities, although they have good oral hygiene habits.
Contrary to popular belief, it's not sugar that causes cavities, but bacteria that break down sugar and produce acid that affect the enamel.
Babies don't have any of these bacteria in their mouths when they are born, but they usually get it from their mothers, other caregivers, or other children. For example, if you have a cavity and you share a spoon or slice of apple with your child, you may be unknowingly infecting them with cavity-causing bacteria. That's why it's important to avoid sharing food or utensils with your child and always wipe their toys clean after other children have played with them.
Most parents assume that if they limit the number of sweets their children eat, then the risk of cavities will decrease too. That's not necessarily true. While sweets can indeed cause cavities, the same can be said about any food rich in fermentable carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, crackers, or white biscuits. The problem with this type of carbs is that they are broken down into sugars when eaten and are a feast for cavities-causing bacteria. Moreover, they tend to stick on their teeth and linger there for longer than other foods.
While the amount of sugar and carbs your kid eats matters, when it comes to cavities, frequency weighs more than quantity. Of course, we're not saying that it's OK to give your child a huge slice of cake every night after dinner, but consuming a large amount of sugar in one sitting might be a bit better than snacking smaller amounts throughout the day. That's because the sugar and starch will linger in your child's mouth for longer, constantly feeding the bacteria that cause cavities.
As a rule of thumb, it's best to avoid giving your child juice, even if it's 100% natural, freshly squeezed orange juice. That's because fruit juices have all the sugars and calories but none of the fiber which is usually found in the pulp.
If you do decide to give your child fruit juice, offer it in a regular cup. Avoid sippy cups or drinking through a straw since your child will be more tempted to drink slowly and take frequent sips throughout the day, basically coating their teeth in sugar.
At Pediatric Dental World, we will not only make sure that your child's teeth are healthy and strong, but also educate you about the best ways to maintain their oral health.
Get in touch with us to request an appointment at your preferred time.