Caries Control & Fillings
Cavities (caries) can develop due to several factors, and children tend to be at more of a risk for many of these. Fortunately, you can your child's dentist can take steps to reduce, or even eliminate, your child's chances of developing cavities.
What Are Caries?
Caries (cavities) occur when decay develops in the outer dentin and enamel layers of a tooth. The enamel is the hard outer surface of your teeth, and dentin is a yellowish layer that lies just beneath the enamel. These two layers protect the living inner tissue of the tooth.
Causes of Decay
When bacteria in the mouth that consume simple sugars and convert them into acid plaque (different from the periodontal plaque that causes gum disease), tooth decay and cavities develop. When the acid plaque begins to build up on the teeth, the enamel and dentin start to deteriorate, resulting in cavities.
Plaque builds up on the teeth due to poor oral hygiene combined with a diet high in sugar and acidic foods. Misaligned teeth, which are more difficult to clean that straight teeth, can also cause plaque build up to occur.
To fix a cavity, the dentist will first clean out the decayed area. To prevent further decay, the dentist will then apply amalgam (silver) or bonded (white) fillings to fill the hole.
Fillings are also often used to repair teeth that are chipped or cracked.
With a thorough at-home oral hygiene routine, and twice-yearly professional cleaning, cavities are preventable. Feel free to ask the Smile Town Dentistry team if you have any questions or need some guidance about improving your child's at home cleaning routine. We'll provide lots of tips and advice on how to be as thorough as possible.
However, children are at a higher risk of caries that adults. For one thing, they're still perfecting their brushing and flossing techniques, and for another, they're not as concerned about diet as adults are. And aside from these external factors, their mouths and teeth are still developing, and are therefore not as resistant to cavities as adults' teeth are.
For these reasons, it can be a good idea to take some extra precautions and steps to protect their smiles:
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in water, soil, and certain foods. It has a positive impact on children's oral health because it helps make their developing teeth more resistant to decay. It can also reverse tooth decay that has already begun.
Depending on the amount of fluoride your child gets from food and water, the dentist may recommend that he or she begin a course of fluoride treatment.
Teeth naturally have grooves and recesses in their biting surfaces. This makes them difficult to clean, particularly for children, which can cause food particles and bacteria to collect.
Dental sealants can be applied to the grooves and recesses of teeth to fill them in, creating a smooth biting surface that is much easier to clean, and doesn't retain as many food particles.
The main decay culprits when it comes to diet are sugars and acids. Cavity causing bacteria feed on sugar, and acids soften and erode enamel over time.
For this reason, the majority of dentists recommend a diet low in sugars and acidic foods as an effective way to prevent cavities.
Uneven or misaligned teeth are much more difficult to clean than straight, even teeth, and they are also more susceptible to damage. For these reasons, your child's dentist may recommend early preventative orthodontics in part to help avoid cavities. > Learn More
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