What is a Cavity?
A cavity is a tiny hole that will form on your tooth due to the prolonged presence of decay. Every time someone eats, an acidic reaction occurs inside their mouth as bacteria found in the mouth digests the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes, during which time the acidic environment can destroy the tooth structure resulting in tooth decay. If tooth decay is left untreated cavities become present and can lead to more extensive dental work needing to be performed.
Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help. The longer it takes your child to chew their food, the longer the residue stays on their teeth and the greater the chances of getting cavities. All of these factors explain why it is so important that you maintain good oral health by brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes and flossing regularly.
A key thing to remember is that cavities are preventable and treatable, so be sure that your child is attending their bi-annual oral health checkups. If your child does have a cavity, Dr. Leach will provide treatment to remedy the problem and offer tips on how to prevent future cavities from forming.
Consistency of a person’s saliva also makes a difference as thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food more quickly. When a person eats diets high in carbohydrates and sugars, they tend to have thicker saliva, which in turn produces more of the acid-producing bacteria that causes cavities.
Some tips for cavity prevention:
- Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
- Encourage brushing, flossing, and rinsing.
- Watch what you drink – stay away from sodas and sports drinks.
- Avoid sticky foods.
- Choose nutritious snacks.
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day.
- Gently brush your gums as well to keep them healthy.
- Floss your teeth once a day to remove plaque and food that’s stuck between your teeth.
- See your dentist twice a year for regular checkups.