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 (or cavities) are decay of the the outer enamel and dentin layers of a tooth. The enamel is the hard, outermost layer of teeth, and dentin is a yellow-coloured layer just beneath the enamel. These two serve as protection for the living tissue inside the tooth.
Causes of Decay
Cavities and tooth decay are caused by bacteria in the mouth that consume simple sugars and convert them into acid plaque (different from the periodontal plaque that causes gum disease). The acid plaque builds up on the teeth, and eats away at the enamel and dentin, resulting in cavities.
Plaque builds up on the teeth due to
- Poor oral hygiene
- A diet high in sugar and acidic foods
- Misaligned teeth
To repair a cavity, the dentist will clean out the decayed part of the tooth, and apply an amalgam (silver) or bonded (white) filling material into the hole and prevent further decay from developing.
Fillings are also sometimes used to repair chipped or cracked teeth.
Cavities are preventable with a consistent at-home dental hygiene routine and regular professional cleaning. The Smile Town Dentistry team would be happy to provide guidance and answer any questions you may have about how to improve your child's at home cleaning routine. We can give you lots of tips and advice on achieving optimal oral health.
Unfortunately though, children are at a higher risk of cavities than adults are. For one thing, they're still perfecting their brushing and flossing techniques, and for another, they're not as aware of diet and health issues as adults are. And in addition to these external factors, their mouths and teeth are still in the process of developing, and their teeth are therefore not as resistant to cavities as adults' teeth are.
Taking some of these extra precautions and steps to protect children's smiles can go a long way:
Fluoride, a mineral that occurs naturally in water, soil, and some foods, can have a positive impact on children's oral health, because it strengthens their developing teeth, making them more resistant to decay. It even reverses tooth decay that has already begun.
Depending on the amount of fluoride your child consumes from food and water sources, the dentist may recommend a course of fluoride treatment.
Teeth naturally have recesses and grooves in their biting surfaces. These grooves and recesses can make teeth difficult to clean, particularly for children, and this can result in the collection of food particles and bacteria in these areas.
A dental sealant can be applied to fill in the grooves and recesses of teeth, resulting in a smooth biting surface that is much easier to clean, and doesn't allow for the build up of food particles and bacteria.
The main dietary tooth decay culprits are acids and sugars. Acids soften and erode enamel over time, and cavity-causing bacteria thrive on sugar.
That's why the majority of dentists recommend a diet that is low in sugars and acidic foods as an effective way to prevent cavities.
Misaligned teeth are more difficult to clean than straight teeth, since they have more crevices where plaque and bacteria can hide. They are also more susceptible to damage. If your child's dentist detects early signs of misalignment, he or she may recommend early preventative orthodontics in part to help avoid cavities. > Learn More
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