Some patients mistakenly believe that cavities are only an issue during childhood. While cavities are especially common among children, patients of any age can develop tooth decay. Tooth decay is caused by a specific strain of bacteria that is transmitted orally from one person to another (normally during infancy). This fact is why cavities are actually classified as an infectious disease. To help prevent the damaging effects of decay, our dentist recommends that patients of all ages receive regular cleanings and checkups and practice a thorough oral hygiene regimen.
Why are children more susceptible to tooth decay?
Children are more susceptible to cavities for a number of reasons—the main reason being that kids typically have difficultly thoroughly cleaning their mouths when brushing. Another reason children develop decay is the fact that baby teeth typically have fissures where food debris and bacteria collect at the back of the mouth. To help minimize harmful oral bacteria, children should avoid sugary and starchy foods.
How can I prevent cavities?
Preventing cavities involves a multifaceted approach. First, patients—regardless of age—should properly clean their teeth with home care practices. Patients should brush their teeth at least twice a day, preferably after meals with an ADA-approved toothpaste and toothbrush. Ideally, patients should brush for at least two minutes at a time to clean away debris and plaque. Patients over the age of five should floss between teeth at least once a day to keep hard-to-reach areas clean.
In addition to oral hygiene, patients should avoid sugary and acidic foods. Sugar feeds oral bacteria and acid weakens tooth enamel—a mineralized substance around teeth that protects teeth from harmful bacteria. Bi-annual professional cleanings and dental checkups are also important for preventing oral health conditions. Using specialized tools, our dental hygienists can remove tartar from teeth and the gum line. With regular checkups, our team can detect issues that may lead to decay as early as possible.
To schedule an appointment with any of our dentists for an examination or cleaning, call The Dental Place today.