Most parents will agree that the sight that warms their hearts above all others is their child’s smile. Dentistry researchers are hard at work to protect the smiles of children by determining how dental caries (decay) develops and what we can do to restrict cavities. It goes beyond the presence of sugar, though sweets are certainly a factor in developing cavities. Bacteria feed on sugar, which makes the mouth environment acidic, softening enamel.
Recent Research on Childhood Caries
This study finds that both bacteria and yeast are players when it comes to caries. Yeast also feeds on sugar, so a sweet tooth can create a double-hit when it comes to a healthy mouth.
By eating a sugary or starchy diet, the perfect storm for cavities exists. Unfortunately, sugar is in everything from ketchup to salad dressing and starches are tough to avoid. Even bagels, cereal, and sandwich bread have enough simple carbs to create a sugar storm in the mouth. Worse still is that it sticks in the deep grooves of the teeth.
What Can Parents Do?
While more research leads us to a treatment that addresses yeast in addition to bacteria, there are some things you can do to protect your child’s smile:
Encourage a healthy diet of whole foods
Brush and floss your child’s teeth daily
Be sure to supervise their home care habits
Seek professional dental cleanings and exams
Opt for fluoride applications
Consider dental sealants
With the proper care, there is no biological reason why kids today should not enjoy their natural teeth for a lifetime, but starting early is essential. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have their first dental appointment on or before their first birthday. Early dental care creates the foundation for a healthy smile that can last a lifetime.
If you want a St. Paul dentist who stays on top of the latest developments in dentistry and enjoys providing dental care for patients of all ages, contact Highgrove Dental Care and schedule an appointment with Dr. Terry O’Neill. His experience and gentle nature make dentistry an exciting and enjoyable experience for kids of all ages.