What Is cavity?
Cavity is a hole that forms on your tooth. The tooth structure becomes soft and it turns to a hole. Cavities are infectious disease means that they are caused by a bacteria.
What causes cavities?
There are several different bacteria’s that cause cavities and the main one is Streptococcus Mutans.
The bacteria feeds from sugar and creates acid. The acid created by these bacteria in the mouth decalcifies enamel. This means that the acid dissolves part of calcium in your tooth where there are more bacteria. If the acidity in the mouth continues then the decalcification becomes larger and larger until it created a hole. This means that the less someone consumes sugar the less chance of having cavities.
When do cavities start?
Cavities can start as soon as the first tooth erupts in the mouth. Milk (mothers’ milk or any other milk) contains sugar. Hence it is important to clean babies’ teeth after feeding them especially at night time when they sleep longer. Early childhood decay is somewhat common among very young children. This happened when babies go to sleep with bottle of mild at night and being fed during the night with bottle. Feeding babies with juice at night can cause the same problem. Children who are breast fed have less of early child hood decays in comparison with babies who are fed by bottle.
To prevent early childhood decays parents can:
- Give water after feeding the child
- Wipe child’s teeth with wet gauze after being fed at night time
- Get babies teeth checked by their family dentist regularly
- Do not introduce your child to sweets at early age
- Avoid giving juice during sleep.
- Stop feeding your child as soon as the doctor recommended.
- If you are feeding milk at night time, dilute the milk gradually until it is only water.
- To stop feeding your child at night you can replace milk with soother, how ever we do not want to replace one bad habit with another one. Using soother can be beneficial if it is for limited time.
- If you see signs of cavitied get your child to be checked by a dentist. Cavities can be like chalky white areas on teeth or darker in shade from light to dark brown. The chalky white colour cavities are the most aggressive ones hence you need to be aware.
How to help your teens to decrease the number of decays:
- Educate your kids about the reasons of cavities and sugar
- Limit the sugary drinks at home, do not buy juice and pops for home. If there is juice and pops your child will drink them. You can not expect to have them around and your child not to drink them.
- Educate them to choose healthier drinks when eating outside.
- Avoid candies and cookies at home.
- Educate them that sports drinks, red bull, alcoholic drinks, punches, chocolate milk, soft drinks have sugar.
- Educate them that water is the best drink they can have all through their life.
- Educate them to avoid eating or drinking sweets food more than two times a day to limit the acid attack in their mouth.
- Educate them about proper oral hygiene
Be Mindful of what you drink when,
- You are thirsty
- Go to the gym
- Weather is too hot
- When you have a party
- When you go to a party
- When you are on your lunch break
- When your friends are having sweet drinks.
- When you are tired and need more energy
By limiting sugary drink not only you are limiting having cavities but also you are helping yourself to prevent diabetes. Make sure you get your teeth checked regularly. In Canada it is routine to get teeth checked every 6 months. If you think you or you child has cavities, get it checked. In case you have cavities, your dentist might want to get the cavities filled or monitor them. Your dentist might recommend using fluoride mouth wash, fluoride varnish or MI paste. If your child has rampand cavities, (when most teeth have deep cavities) your dentist might want to refer your child to a pediatric dentist. Also, if your child will not cooperate for dental procedures your child can be referred to pediatric dentist. The best thing to do is to avoid having cavities in the first place. Be in touch with your family doctor and get some advice from them.
Benefits of decreasing sugary drinks of your teen
Parents can highly influence in decreasing young adults’ decays by limiting intake of sugary drinks.
Reducing your teen’s intake of sugary drinks may lead to a decreased risk of:
- tooth decay
- type 2 diabetes
Teens and young adults are some of the highest consumers of Carbonated and sugary drinks. These drinks are a major source of sugars in the diets of children, (pre-teens and teens).
Soft and carbonated and sugary drinks examples are:
- Iced tea
- Fruit juice
- Sports drinks
- Energy drinks
- Hot chocolate
- Chocolate milk
- Sweetened coffee and teas
- Flavoured waters with added sugars
- Fruit-flavoured drinks like fruit punch
- sweetened plant-based beverages
- Pop: coke, Pepsi, sprite, ….
- Smoothies with syrup inside.
Benefits of limiting processed foods
Now a days most processed foods contain some sugar inside. It is smart to check the label of the food you buy. Fortunately, in Canda we can check the ingredient. Most of the time we purchase a not sweet snack or package of food but when you check the ingredients there to a high level of sugar ingredients in them.
Highly processed foods with sugar can include but not limited to foods below.
- Sugary drinks
- Chocolate, cookies, and candies
- potato chips, pringles
- All sorts of dressings
- All kinds of deserts, ice creams, jelly, ….
- Baked sweets such as cakes, muffins, pastries
- Baked breads, some breads contain high levels of sugar
Unfortunately, highly processed foods are easily available and most of them are not very costly and people are eating more of them. This puts people more at risk of having not only cavities but also health issues. In conclusion it is important to be aware of the effects that sweets can have on you and your children’s teeth. By paying attention to this matter, you can prevent so much of pain and discomfort. It is highly recommended to get yours and your children’s teeth checked every 6 months especially if you are at high decay risk.