Most of the time cavities are due to a diet high in sugary foods and a lack of brushing.
Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help. The longer it takes your child to chew their food, the longer the residue stays on their teeth and the greater the chances of getting cavities.
Every time someone eats, an acid reaction occurs inside their mouth as the bacteria digests the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time the acid environment releases calcium from the saliva matrix. However when the intake of sugars and carbohydrates is high then the matrix can’t release enough calcium ions and then the tooth structure, gets damaged, eventually leading to cavities.
Constituents of a person’s saliva also makes a difference as thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food more quickly. When a person eats diets high in carbohydrates and sugars, they tend to have thicker saliva, which in turn produces more of the acid-producing bacteria that causes cavities. Exposing the saliva to tooth structure constituents (calcium, phosphate and fluorides), enriches it with mineralizing components and helps the saliva fight back the acid. This process happens when the child or adult brushes frequently with minute amount of toothpaste (preferably fluoridated one).
Some general tips for cavity prevention:
- Limit frequency of sugary meals and snacks.
- Encourage brushing, flossing, and rinsing, preferably right after the intake.
- Watch what you drink.
- Avoid sticky foods.
- Make treats part of meals.
- Choose nutritious snacks.
- Brush with minute amount of toothpaste at least three times a day.
- Supervised brushing by parents or care takers is recommended till early teens.