Saliva is the body’s mechanism for fighting the destructive forces of acids formed by plaque. Saliva acts as a buffer and a re-mineralizing agent. Sugarless gum is one way to stimulate the flow of saliva in the mouth in between brushings. The best way to prevent cavities, however, is to brush and floss the teeth twice daily. When your child is able to expectorate (spit), use a mouthwash with fluoride.
Children are most susceptible to developing cavities. Heredity also may play a major role in how susceptible your child’s teeth are to the formation of a cavity. For example, tooth structure, size, and shape may be passed down through many generations. This includes deep pits and grooves, which are ideal for trapping plaque. Many cavities originate in the hard-to-clean areas between teeth and in the pits of teeth.
Common symptoms of a possible cavity may include:
Healthy eating habits lead to healthy teeth. Like the rest of the body, the teeth, bones and the soft tissues of the mouth need a well-balanced diet. Children should eat a variety of foods from the five major food groups. Many snacks that children eat can lead to the formation of cavities. The more frequently a child snacks, the greater the chances of tooth decay. The time food remains in the mouth also plays a role. For example, hard candy, chewing gum with sugar, and breath mints stay in the mouth for extended periods of time, causing longer acid attacks on tooth enamel. We understand that children love chocolate! Offer them dark chocolate, as it dissolves faster and has more nutritional value. Always have your child brush after eating candy.
Often cavities develop without any pain or other symptoms – the reason it is so important to schedule your child for regular, routine visits to our office. Because the threshold for pain varies, some children do not complain of pain until there is severe decay or abscess.
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