Why Does My Child Have Cavities Despite Regular Brushing?
A very common concern with parents is children having cavities at young age despite the fact that they have been brushing regularly.
We understand that dental cavities (tooth decay) are a multi-factorial disease that originates primarily due to lack of oral hygiene combined with other common factors such as high sugar diet and many more.
It has been known that children’s pattern of brushing is mostly quick, inadequate and unassisted by adults.
Young children have not mastered the brushing technique and miss on “tough to reach” areas such as those in between the teeth and close to gum lines. These are the areas where bacteria reside and dwell on food that keeps getting stuck in.
In order to avoid this potential cause of cavities, brushing in children is recommended to be done, assisted or supervised by an adult until the age of ten to twelve years. Once all the permanent teeth have set in, children can be allowed to brush independently with occasional guidance and supervision.
Flossing or interdental cleaning using an electric brush or water flossers are a few good ways to keep the in-between areas of the teeth clean.
Another common factor is frequent intake of food. Bacteria feed on food that breaks down into sugar. Any carbohydrate breaks down into a form of sugar which is a treat to bacteria. Bacteria feed on these sugars, produce acid that soften the tooth and gradually forms a cavity. Frequent food intakes increase the chance of such incidence.
A good rule of thumb is to offer kids breakfast, lunch, dinner and two healthy snacks in between meals. Limit the amount of sweets and treats you give your child.
Frequent intake of water to wash down anything we consume is another way to neutralize the pH in the mouth which certainly helps in decreasing the incidence of caries.
In summary, brushing alone does not prevent decays.
- proper brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and is supervised by an adult
- flossing or interdental cleaning in alternate manner
- proper dietary guidance
- periodic dental visits every six months
This combined approach can successfully lead to decreased incidence of cavities.