What Causes Cavities?

You may be aware that cavities are one of childhood’s most common infectious diseases. Armed with this knowledge, most parents can remind their children to brush and make a valiant effort to limit their candy consumption. But, what really causes cavities? Understanding the process of tooth decay can help to improve your chances of preventing the disease both for your child and for yourself.

Your efforts at preventing cavities can be reinforced when you enlist the help of your pediatric dentist in Charlotte, NC.  The members of the dental team can provide personalized instructions for the prevention and treatment of tooth decay.

Essentially, cavities are the result of bacterial acids that attack the enamel. Each time that your child’s teeth are exposed to sugars, the bacteria that are naturally found in the mouth begin to produce destructive acids. These acids attack the enamel and cause demineralization for up to 20 minutes. Once the acid has weakened the hard outer layer of the enamel, the cavity can spread quickly through the soft, inner layers of the tooth causing irreversible harm.

The clear, sticky film of plaque that covers the surface of the teeth provides a safe haven for the colonies of bacteria that produce these destructive acids. The bacteria are able to metabolize sugar in all forms including fruit juice, crackers, bread, milk, and soft drinks. Parents are caregivers should be aware of the hidden sources of cavity-causing sugars when serving meals and snacks.

Careful brushing and flossing are highly effective for preventing decay. Special attention should be paid to any areas that tend to collect food debris. In childhood, these problem areas may be numerous due to shifting teeth and a combination of primary and adult teeth.

Allow your Charlotte pediatric dentist to assist you in talking to your child about tooth decay. Start by calling to schedule your child’s dental visit today.