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What Causes Cavities?

December 20, 2018

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Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease—5 times more common than asthma, 4 times more common than childhood obesity, and 20 times more common than diabetes. But, cavities are nearly entirely preventable and treatable. Here’s some common causes for cavities, and how to defeat cavities.  

Poor Dietary Choices 

One of the primary ways parents can help prevent cavities in their children’s mouth is by providing them with a healthy diet. Many parents understand the overall importance of a healthy diet, but are unaware of some dietary habits that could also increase their child’s cavity risk.

When preparing your child’s diet, try to incorporate as many nutrient-rich foods as possible. Focus on adding whole grains, healthy proteins like beans and nuts, and fibrous vegetables like carrots and celery – which clean teeth as they’re consumed. Also, substitute the majority of their drinks with water, which naturally cleans teeth by stimulating saliva production. Allowing children to sip on sugary beverages over long periods of time increases their exposure to sugar, and acid attacks that can erode their enamel. 

Inadequate Oral Hygiene 

It seems like a no-brainer, but you can help your child avoid cavities by simply following a proper oral healthcare routine. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists says that children should brush for two minutes at a time, twice per day, and floss once per day. When flossing, make sure that your child flosses both sides of their teeth and below the gum line. If they have difficulty flossing, then you can help them by getting them floss picks, or dental tape – which is wider and easier for children to use. You can help your child establish a routine by brushing with them, or finding some fun oral health videos online that makes brushing fun. 

Knowledge Gaps  

When it comes to healthcare, there are many knowledge gaps for parents on a variety of subjects – and that includes pediatric dentistry. The best place for parents to find reliable oral healthcare information is at their pediatric dentist’s office. Pediatric dentists have been specifically trained to care for children’s teeth, and understand the unique needs of a developing mouth.  

Cavities are Almost Completely Preventable  

Cavities do not directly cause other disease, but they do leave you more susceptible to other illnesses and infections. Despite the prevalence of cavities, there’s good news: cavities are nearly 100% preventable. You can prevent cavities by brushing twice per day for 2 minutes at a time, and flossing once per day. Additionally, you can take dietary actions to help prevent cavities.

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