Dentist Corner
Dentist Corner

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.

Baby’s 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 children’s teeth.

Dentist Corner

Here is what is happening in your child’s 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 children’s 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!

Dentist Corner

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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