For those who may have never heard of deciduous teeth, it is a term used to describe baby teeth. These are the first set of teeth that will erupt in a child’s mouth and will remain with them until they are replaced with permanent (adult) teeth. These teeth are essential in that they help children learn how to properly chew their food; however, there is a downside. Deciduous teeth, unlike permanent teeth, are especially prone to cavities due to the thin layer of enamel that covers them. However, according to dentists in Northbrook, there are things that parents can do to help lower their child’s chances of developing cavities.
WHAT CAUSES CAVITIES IN CHILDREN?
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, more than 28 percent of children between the ages of 2 and 5 will develop a cavity. The factors that contribute to cavities in children are not too dissimilar from those that contribute to cavities in adults. Children typically develop cavities as a result of poor oral hygiene, meaning they are not brushing their teeth as much or as thoroughly as they should. Like permanent teeth, plaque acids and food particles that remain on deciduous teeth can lead to cavities, especially since these teeth have a thinner layer of protective enamel covering them.
HOW TO PREVENT CAVITIES IN CHILDREN
For parents with toddlers, keeping cavities at bay can be challenging. The best way to help them avoid cavities, according to many Northbrook dentists and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), is by not allowing them to go to bed with a bottle or a sippy cup that contains juice or milk. The longer these substances remain on a child’s teeth, the more likely they are to develop cavities. After all, juice and milk contain sugar, which can further boost bacteria production that is already taking place in their mouths. This same bacteria can erode the protective layer of enamel on their teeth, which, over time, can lead to cavities. Additional steps that parents can take to help their children avoid cavities include
- Making sure they brush their teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush twice per day
- Making sure that they brush their teeth for a minimum of 2 minutes
- Making sure that they use kid-friendly anti-cavity toothpaste
- Teaching them how to floss in-between teeth
- Not allowing them to have sugar-laden snacks before bed
- Scheduling regular dental checkups
While cavities can’t always be avoided, there are several things that parents can do to help lower their child’s risk for developing them. If you suspect your child has cavities or if they have never had a dental checkup, consider scheduling an appointment with a Northbrook dental Dr. Steven N. Kacel, D.D.S., M.A.G.D., F.A.D.I.group today.