Why Cavities Can Be a Much Bigger Problem Than You Realize
According to the World Health Organization, 60–to-90% of school children worldwide have dental cavities. What makes this statistic especially concerning is the fact that while cavities do cause directly cause disease themselves, they can leave your child more vulnerable to a wide variety of illnesses.
Read More about how to prevent tooth decay.
Greater Risk of Infection
Cavities and tooth decay are major causes of tooth loss, which increases your child’s risk of infection. Cavities and infected teeth can be overwhelmed by unhealthy bacteria that, if left untreated, could cause a deeper infection in the pulp tissue. They can also lead to gum disease, which in turn can cause infection in the lungs or even pneumonia.
Greater Risk of Heart Disease
It has been well documented that plaque buildup can increase the chances of developing heart disease and strokes. How? The bacteria that cause tooth decay and cavities can release toxins into the bloodstream and help to form fatty plaque in the arteries, and this plaque can cause blood clots and stroke.
Greater Difficulty in Managing Diabetes
Cavities and gum disease can increase the amount of blood sugar to rise, and that can make it difficult to manage diabetes.
The Good News
Cavities are almost completely preventable by having your child do the following:
- Brushing twice per day for 2 minutes at a time, and flossing once per day.
- It’s critical for your child to remove food from the small areas of tooth surfaces and between teeth. If this is not done, bacteria will soon become a problem.
- Avoiding sugary drinks.
- Sugar provides bad bacteria the food it needs to thrive and create cavities.
- It’s not enough to avoid sodas; your child should also avoid other beverages that contain much more sugar than you might realize, including fruit juices and sports drinks.
- Limiting starchy foods.
- Potato chips, cookies, crackers, white bread, and other starchy foods can get stuck in the small areas of tooth surfaces and between teeth. Without proper brushing, these foods can also provide sugar to bacteria ultimately lead to tooth decay.
Early Treatment Is Essential
As you have seen above, cavities can lead to problems that are far more serious than problems with your child’s teeth. If your child has one or more, early treatment is absolutely essential. And since it’s difficult for you to know if your child has a cavity, it’s vital that your child be examined by a pediatric dentist every six months starting with their first birthday. Six month checkups are the best way to keep a close watch on your child’s oral health and to keep cavities away.