Understanding The Causes Of Dental Decay And Prevention In Children
If you have a child who brushes their teeth twice a day and also flosses when they are supposed to, then you may be surprised if your family dentist says that your child has cavities. Cavities are a serious concern when it comes to children and oral health, and 42% of children between the ages of 2 and 11 have cavities in the teeth. While cavities are common, certain children are more prone to dental decay than others. Keep reading to learn one reason why and how the issue can be resolved.
Grooves In The Teeth
The molars, cuspids, and bicuspids in the mouth all have biting surfaces that are relatively uneven. These surfaces help you bite and grind food. These teeth are covered with small grooves and indentations that are called pits and fissures. Depending on the formation of the grooves, the small openings in the teeth can collect a great deal of food and plaque. Since children do not always brush the biting surface as well as they should, especially when it comes to the molars, bacteria can feed on the debris and eat away at the tooth enamel. When this happens, cavities develop.
If your child's dentist locates decay in the biting surfaces of the teeth, then this is a sign that the pits and fissures are deep, allowing decay to develop.
Preventing Widespread Decay Issues
If decay has already been noted in the biting surfaces of the teeth, then you may want to work with your son or daughter to show them how to brush so all the biting surfaces are cleaned thoroughly. Holding the toothbrush vertically over the teeth, placing medium pressure on the bristles, and moving the brush back and forth against each tooth is a good way to release debris from the tooth pits and fissures.
Another good way to make sure the biting edges do not form decay is to ask your child's dentist about dental sealants. Sealants are plastic coatings that are applied to the biting surfaces of the teeth. The plastic fills in the grooves so that debris can no longer settle in the pits. The plastic is tooth colored so you and your child will not notice the sealant.
Special UV lights are used to cure or solidify the sealant on your child's teeth. While this does help to create a solid coating, the plastic will wear away over time. The pediatric dentist will inspect the coating at six month check-ups and reapply the coating as needed.