Cavities and Tooth Decay
What is tooth decay?
Tooth decay is caused by a variety of things; in medical terms, cavities are called caries, which are caused by long-term destructive forces acting on tooth structures such as enamel and the tooth's inner dentin material.
These destructive forces include frequent exposure to foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates; soda, or other related drinks, candy, ice cream-even milk-are the common culprits. Left inside your mouth from non-brushing and flossing, these materials break down quickly, allowing bacteria to do their dirty work in the form of a harmful, colorless sticky substance called plaque.
The plaque works in concert with leftover food particles in your mouth to form harmful acids that destroy enamel and other tooth structures.
If cavities aren't treated early enough, they can lead to more serious problems requiring treatments such as root canal therapy.
The best defense against cavities is good oral hygiene, including brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing and rinsing and visiting the dentist for your six months routine cleaning and exam. Your body's own saliva is also an excellent cavity fighter, because it contains special chemicals that rinse away many harmful materials. Chewing a good sugarless gum will stimulate saliva production between brushing.
Special sealants and varnishes can also be applied to stave off cavities from forming.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you may have a cavity:
- Unusual sensitivity to hot and cold water or foods.
- A localized pain in your tooth or near the gum line.
- Teeth that change color.
Baby bottle tooth decay
Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by sugary substances in breast milk and some juices and soda or other related drinks which combine with saliva to form pools inside the baby's mouth.
If left untreated, this can lead to premature decay of your baby's future primary teeth, which can later hamper the proper formation of permanent teeth.
One of the best ways to avoid baby bottle tooth decay is to not allow your baby to nurse on a bottle while going to sleep. Encouraging your toddler to drink from a cup as early as possible will also help stave off the problems associated with baby bottle tooth decay.
How to take care of your children teeth?
It is especially important to take care of your children's teeth and establish good habits early. Cavities are a steadily increasing problem among children, so it is crucial to use enough time and the right tools for brushing teeth. You should start brushing your child's teeth from the time the first little baby tooth appears. In the beginning it can be a challenge to get your child to brush his or her teeth, but it is very important to get the child used to brushing as early as possible. Furthermore, it is important to brush every morning and evening and set aside two minutes each time. As children do not have the motor skills to do a thorough enough job, a grown-up should brush over and ensure that the teeth are clean. Adults should oversee the quality of the brushing until the child is eight to ten years old. When choosing a toothbrush for your child, it is important that the handle and brush head size fit. The child should be able to easily hold the brush and reach well into their mouth. It is also a plus if the child likes the design of the brush, as it can make brushing their teeth more fun. For further information view our Educational Videos Link (column on the right)