Cavities happen when bacteria and food left on the teeth after eating are not brushed away. Acid collects on a tooth, softening its enamel until a hole or cavity forms eventually over time.
Below are a few tips on how to prevent cavities or making them worse:
- Start good oral habits early. Teach kids to brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and to floss regularly.
- Get enough fluoride. Regular use of fluoride toughens the enamel, making it harder for acid to penetrate.
- Limit or avoid some foods. Sugary foods, juices, candy (especially sticky gummy candy, gummy vitamins, or fruit leather or “roll-ups”) can erode enamel and cause cavities.
- As your child’s permanent teeth grow in, the dentist can help prevent decay by applying a thin wash of resin (called a sealant) to the back teeth, where most chewing is done
Be sure to call your dentist if your child complains of tooth pain, which could be a sign of a cavity that needs treatment. Regular checkups and good dental hygiene can help prevent the need for this kind of extensive dental work. As kids grow, plan on routine dental checkups anywhere from once every 3 months to once a year, depending on your dentist’s recommendations. Keeping sugary foods in check, encouraging regular brushing and flossing, and working with your dentist will lead good dental health.