Can My Child Catch Cavities?
Dental caries is an infectious disease process that causes tooth decay or cavities. If untreated, caries can lead to severe pain, local infection, tooth loss, and even serious systemic infections.
Babys mouths are born without cavity-causing bacteria. They typically are inoculated or catch the bacteria that causes dental caries from their parents or caregivers. This window of infectivity occurs between 6 to 20 months of age. For this reason, it is important that parents attend to their own dental needs, striving to have excellent dental hygiene and therefore helping to prevent problems with their childrens teeth.
Here is what is happening in your childs mouth: Teeth, which are primarily made of minerals, are in a constant state of back-and-forth demineralization and remineralization. When your child eats and drinks certain types of bacteria, they create acid from the foods and fluids left on the teeth. The acid demineralizes or weakens the tooth enamel. In healthy mouths, the time between meals allows minerals from the saliva to become incorporated into the teeth, remineralizing the enamel and reversing the damage from the acid. In essence, the tooth heals itself.
However, in unhealthy mouths, where there is an abundance of bacteria and a high incidence of juice, energy drink or starch snack consumption, the enamel never remineralizes and the tooth, instead of healing, develops decay. Therefore, the more parents can clean their childrens teeth, use appropriate amounts of fluoride and give the teeth time between food and drink consumption to recover, the better chance their teeth will have to win the battle for remineralization, be healthy, strong and caries free.
Bring your infant today for a caries risk assessment to learn more about this preventable disease!
Published in the Jan/Feb 2012 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review
Article and Photographs provided by Dr. Eddie
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