Dental decay occurs when bacteria in our mouth consume sugars in our diet and produce acid which erodes the tooth. With regular ‘acid attacks’ from the consumption of sugars, the surface of the tooth eventually becomes so weak it breaks – causing the cavity.
Even with a family history of dental cavities, measures can be taken to either prevent or reduce the risk of it as our lifestyle plays a major role in the development of cavities. The three factors which must come together for the development of dental cavities are having a susceptible tooth, diet and oral hygiene.
If there is a family history of dental cavities, it is always best to see your dentist to determine if your child has teeth susceptible to dental cavities. They will be able to determine if the teeth have deep pits and grooves or if the enamel is weaker than normal (hypomineralisation). If this is the case, they can discuss with you options to manage this.
Next, dietary changes. Reduce the consumption of sweet and sticky foods and drinks and avoid frequent snacking. Try alternatives such as cheese, nuts, fruit or crackers. Limit flavoured drinks to special occasions and drink tap water instead.
Lastly, tooth brushing must be done at least twice a day – after breakfast and after dinner. All children need adult supervision with their tooth brushing. Children should also have their teeth flossed nightly by an adult.
Dental decay is preventable – see your dentist or dental therapist and make the necessary dietary and oral hygiene changes and we say goodbye to fillings!
Ronald is one of Peninsula Orthodontic’s oral health therapist.