Why does my child get cavities!


The most common question we get asked in our practice is, “How can I prevent my child from getting cavities?”

We know that it’s frustrating and alarming for parents when they feel like they are on the losing end of the battle with tooth decay. Even more frustrating is when they are trying to be as vigilant as possible when it comes to home care and sweets.  And while sugar is the culprit here, most parents are surprised when we tell them that the real enemy here is what we call the “frequency factor”.

Let’s look at the cavity process:Decay process

The Battle is in your mouth and at school

So, what we have is a battle between the acids damaging the teeth and the body’s attempt to repair this damage in between meals. What you eat and how often you eat are two of the key factors in the decay process.

The first thing to understand is that we live in a different time when it comes to our children’s eating patterns. Most children no longer come home for lunchtime and it is expected that parents provide their children with foods for their two snack times at school in addition to their school lunches. If you include an “after school” snack, children are eating three or four times before their dinner meal, often with no chance to brush in between meals.

 More snacking = More cavities

The problem is that there isn’t enough time between all these meals to allow  your child’s saliva to sufficiently remineralization the teeth after each acid attack. Most children do not brush after each of these meal times so acids can be attacking their teeth all day long.

Simply put, more snacking cause more cavities!

Planning your child’s lunches and snacks  every day so that they are dentally healthy for them can feel like a daunting task. I find that many schools focus only on the nutritional value of a food item and not it’s dental consequences. The ideal beverage would be fluoridated water, however, many schools still offer milk, chocolate milk and juice programs. Chewing gum is discouraged even though we know the dental benefits of gum containing xylitol.

You can still ensure that your child’s daily nutritional needs are being met while still safe-guarding them from the foods that harm their teeth. Although the best advise we can give a parent is to make sure that their child is brushing 3 times a day and is avoiding snacking in between meals, however, the snacking part of this logic is just not realistic.

Healthy Snacks

Building a foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating…

Snacking has been on the rise steadily over the past few decades and we need to help our children make wise choices and learn how to snack right so that they will develop good eating habits as they age. Packing fruits and veggies that are fibrous and crunchy are what we call “nature’s toothbrushes” and cheese helps to coat and shield your child’s enamel while also increase saliva and the mouth’s pH levels.

If you would like to get the upper hand on tooth decay, we encourage you to visit the Ontario Dental Association’s article on Nutrition and Children here or click the link below. It has some great advice on how to develop a good nutrition program for your child .

ABCs of Snacking

05-05-2014 10-32-58 AM
Word to the wise – Just a reminder that your cup of sweetened coffee may be helping you
stay awake during the day, but if  you are sipping it throughout the day you may want to
consider taking it black or alternating it with sips of water. Otherwise, it’s just a cup o’ acid!
Other acidic drinks – tea, sports drinks, juices and sodas (including diet!)

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