How Do Cavities Form?

Many different types of germs live in our mouths and build up on the teeth in a sticky film called dental plaque. When we eat and drink, these bacteria create acids, which can dissolve the protective layer beneath the retained plaque. The acid removes minerals from the enamel, which if left untreated can cause a cavity. Decay begins in the main portion of the tooth (the enamel) and as the enamel is broken down the decay can go deeper into the dentin and can eventually reach the nerve (pulp) of the tooth.

How Can I Help Prevent Cavities?

  • Brush at least twice a day and floss daily to remove plaque from between teeth and below the gum line
  • Have regular dental checkups. Preventive care can help stop problems from occurring and keep minor problems from becoming major ones
  • Eat a well-balanced diet that limits starchy or sugary foods. When you do eat these foods, try to eat them with your meal instead of as a snack to minimize the number of times that your teeth are exposed to acid
  • Use dental products that contain fluoride, including toothpaste
  • Make sure that your children’s drinking water is fluoridated. If your water supply does not contain fluoride, your dentist or paediatrician may prescribe daily fluoride supplements

Infant oral care

It is a good idea to get in the habit of cleaning your baby’s gums soon after birth. Although there may be a little fussing at first, your infant will get used to having the mouth cleaned like other parts of the body. Many children grow to enjoy tooth brushing as part of their daily routine.

 

First Teeth
Caring for your baby’s first teeth is very important, and helps set the stage for a healthy mouth.

Tips to clean your baby’s mouth:

  • Lay your infant in your lap. The head should be close to your chest so you can look down directly into your child’s mouth.
  • Clean the gums and the teeth — when they arrive — by rubbing a clean, damp, wash cloth along the baby’s upper and lower gums. You can also use terrycloth finger cots, which fit over the finger and are made for this purpose.
  • Follow these steps at least twice a day — once after breakfast, and once after the last feeding of the day.
  • When the teeth begin to erupt, start brushing them at least two to three times a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and water. Toothpaste is not recommended until a child reaches age two. At that time, supervise brushing to ensure that your child does not swallow any toothpaste.

What are the Effects of Early Childhood Cavities?

  • Tooth loss
  • Ear and speech problems
  • Crooked permanent teeth
  • Severe pain
  • Poor self-image
  • Tooth decay

How can I prevent Early Childhood Cavities?

  • Get into the habit of putting your baby to bed without a bottle.
  • Never put the baby to bed with a bottle filled with formula, milk, juice, sugar water, or soda pop. If your baby must have a bottle to go to sleep, fill it with water.
  • Do not let your infant walk around with a bottle.
  • Start teaching your infant to use a cup between 6-12 months. Trade your baby’s bottle for a training cup by age one.

Your child’s healthy teeth and brilliant smile depend on you!

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