Cavities are one of the most common dental concerns we hear about at our pediatric dental office in Long Island. While worries about cavities are valid, since they can lead to pain, sensitivity, and more serious oral health conditions, there are many beliefs about cavities that just aren’t true. Join us as we look at some facts and some myths involving kids and cavities…
Fiction. This may be surprising to hear from your Long Island pediatric dentist but sugar isn’t the main source of cavities in kids (or adults!). In fact, bacteria are the main cavity-causing culprits. Bacteria produce acid, acid destroys teeth, and cavities are formed as a result. But where do the bacteria come from? Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates found in bread, rice, potatoes, and yes, sugar, are the main triggers behind bacteria production.
Fiction. Developments in dental technology and prevention have led to a decrease in tooth decay in children by 50% in the last 20 years. This means that children are actually at a lower risk for cavities than their grandparents. Senior citizens are at the highest risk for cavities because a lot of medications lead to dry mouth, lack of saliva production, and in turn, tooth decay and cavities. However, this still means that regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups are vitally important for keeping kids cavity free.
Fact. Foods that are highly acidic such as lemons, citrus fruits, and soda greatly increase the chance for decay. The acid found in these treats will eat away at the protective tooth enamel, putting your kids’ teeth at greater risk for cavities. Choose water over soda or even fruit juice and enjoy acidic foods and beverages in moderation.
Fact. Gaps in teeth or even over-crowded crooked teeth provide a great place for bacteria to hide. These gaps or overlaps are hard to reach with a toothbrush and even floss, so it’s difficult to properly clean these areas. This can make it easy for bacteria and food particles to linger behind, leaving your kids more susceptible to cavities.
A little knowledge and regular dental care can go a long way in protecting your kids’ smiles against cavities. Help them practice proper brushing and flossing, encourage them to eat a well-balanced diet, and of course, schedule dental appointments at our Long Island pediatric dental office at least every six months.