At least four million children who aren’t even old enough for school yet are suffering from tooth decay in the United States. That’s an increase of some six hundred thousand over the last decade, according to the experts, and it’s one of the reasons why we stress early dental care at Just For Kids Dentistry in Las Vegas.
One of the reasons for this jump in cavities is that kids have a lot more sugar in their diets than they used to. Decay starts with bacteria that is present in the mouth. It feeds on all that excess sugar, producing an acid that damages the structure of teeth. It also contributes to the build-up of plaque.
What’s surprising about all this is that tooth decay can spread in families. Babies don’t have any of that harmful bacteria when they’re born. They get it through the transfer of saliva, such as when parents share a spoon with the baby. Once the baby’s mouth is colonized, he is more vulnerable to cavities – not just in baby teeth, but in permanent teeth.
One of the best things you can do to fight cavities, whether they run in your family or not, is to practice good dental hygiene. That means brushing and flossing diligently, and starting at an early age. By doing so, bacteria, plaque and sugar is removed from the teeth. Fluoride toothpastes and treatments are also important because it builds stronger teeth.