Kids, especially those who still have their baby teeth, are more susceptible to tooth decay and cavities. Why? The enamel on baby teeth isn’t as strong as adult teeth. And other factors can increase the risk of tooth decay, too, like poor oral habits, pre-existing health conditions, and diet. So, if you’ve been asking yourself why your kid keeps getting cavities, read this.
Lack of Healthy Foods
When it comes to nutrition and dental health, what you don’t eat matters as much as what you do eat. Some foods can help fortify the teeth against the threat of tooth decay. This fortification is especially crucial for your kid’s baby teeth. A lack of these foods in their diet, on the other hand, could leave their teeth further defenseless against bacterial attacks.
Another thing to consider is the frequency of what they eat. Acid is a crucial contributor to tooth decay by wearing away the tooth enamel. If your child regularly consumes acidic foods or foods that convert into acid, they’re more likely to exhibit tooth decay. This risk goes up if it isn’t followed up with a steady dental hygiene routine to follow it up with.
If your child keeps getting cavities, then you might want to take a closer look at what they’re eating. Do they like to take sugary snacks often? Do their water and food contain enough fluoride to keep their teeth healthy? Vetting what they eat may help lessen the chances of further cavities in the future. But what if they have a sound diet?
Some situations make the mouth ripe for dental decay to flourish. For the most part, our mouths have their self-cleaning mechanisms that help keep it afloat until the next toothbrush session. There are, however, some conditions that could disrupt this balance.
Having a dry mouth is one condition that disrupts this balance. This condition can come about by any number of complications. These complications can range from mouth-breathing to diabetes. If you find that your child is vulnerable to this, you might want to have them checked up for other problems.
In terms of oral health, however, a dry mouth limits saliva production. This salivary action helps wash away the stray sugars and food particles that makeup plaque. Without it, plaque accumulates at a much quicker rate. This accumulation makes the affected teeth more vulnerable to decay.
Any condition that makes your child more susceptible to vomiting also puts them at risk. As we mentioned before, acid can eat up the enamel and leave the teeth more vulnerable. Vomiting brings up the stomach acids into the mouth, which also wears away at the teeth. In times like these, tending to these conditions often lessens the risk significantly.
7 Tips to Fight Kids Cavities
Forty percent of children in the United States enter kindergarten with a history of dental disease. Dental caries, also known as tooth decay, often develops during infancy.
According to research, infants acquire Strep Mutans, the primary cause of dental caries in humans, from their mothers during the “window of infectivity” estimated around 19 to 31 months of age. Therefore, infants are called to receive early intervention before the established “window of infectivity.” Parents must also receive appropriate recommendations concerning oral health care for their babies.
Here are some valuable tips on how to prevent cavities on children’s teeth.
#1 Stick to Recommended Juice Intakes
As parents, make sure your child does not go over the suggested amount of juice they can take every day. Because juice contains sugar, it is best to limit the quantity using the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations.
According to the professional association of pediatricians in the United States, here are the advised amount of juice intake of children depending on their age:
- Zero to age one year old: No juice; instead, switch to sources of whole fruits
- Two years old to six years old: Maximum of four to six ounces of fluid per day or equal to one small juice box
- Seven years old to 18 years old: Maximum of eight to 12 ounces of juice per day
Besides keeping up with the recommended quantity of juice, pediatricians also advise giving the beverage with food during meal times. Evidence shows that food helps prevent the pH level from reaching its critical level of 5.5, contributing to the demineralization of the teeth.
Doctors also suggest avoiding giving infants juice from bottles or easily transportable cups to prevent them from quickly consuming the fluid during the day. However, before bed, children must only drink water to bed with them.
#2 No Soda
While juice can be taken in limited quantities, soda is a big no-no to children. According to the Wisconsin Dental Association, regular consumption of soft drinks is considered one of the top causes of tooth decay. Soda contains sugar, which combines with the mouth bacteria and form acid.
In turn, the acid attacks and damages the teeth. When such happens, the tooth enamel, the outermost and protective layer of the tooth, weakens and causes the teeth’ increased susceptibility to decay.
#3 Limit Sticky and Sugary Foods
An occasional sweet treat for your kids is okay, but best to be avoided. Sticky and sugary foods like raisins, fruit roll-ups, gummy vitamins, and granola bars can stick to the teeth and cause bacteria to proliferate. Like in soda, the sugar found in these treats serves as food for bacteria, which release acid that harms the teeth.
#4 Eat Healthy Snacks
Instead of juice, get your child a glass of water to wash off his or her food. In terms of food, prepare healthy and delicious snacks such as apples, carrots, yogurt, nuts, and leafy vegetables. You can also blend fruits and vegetables for that refreshing smoothie.
#5 Stop Using a Pacifier
Using a pacifier until the age of one works fine as it serves as a protective factor against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. However, beyond that age, prolonged pacifier use can cause bite problems and jaw misalignment. It can also narrow the mouth roof.
#6 Practice Proper Oral Care As Early As Possible
Even though your child’s first tooth has yet to emerge, form the habit of cleaning his or her gums by wiping the area with a clean and damp gauze or washcloth. When their teeth begin to come out, use a soft toothbrush with polished nylon to brush them.
Your child can use a fluoridated toothpaste with fluoride less than 1,000 parts per million at age two. Limit the toothpaste use to a small dab. Then, gently brush the teeth to clear away leftover food particles and ensure your child’s teeth’ cleanliness.
#7 Visit the Dentist No Later Than 12 Months of Age
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children undergo their first oral examination no later than 12 months. Traditionally, the advised time for the first dental visit was at three years of age. However, by that time, poor oral hygiene and improper feeding habits have already compromised oral health.