It’s sad but true: You’re never too young to get a cavity. These painful, uncomfortable, and unpleasant erosions can happen at any age. So long as you have teeth in your mouth, be they baby teeth or adult, you run the risk of developing a painful cavity at some point.
At Imagine Dental, our dentists have helped many a confused parent help their young children deal with their dental problems. If you’re wondering why your child already has a cavity, read on and find out why you’re never too young to deal with tooth decay.
What Causes Cavities?
Cavities happen as a result of tooth decay. A variety of factors can cause tooth decay to set in at any age, but the biggest culprit is usually a build-up of cariogenic bacteria. These are oral bacteria that can feed on sugars and turn them into lactic acids. As these bacteria build up, they form plaque. As the acids and plaque get stronger, they start to work away at the integrity of the tooth in a process called demineralization. The tooth gets weaker and begins to decay, forming cavities and in more extreme cases abscesses.
Tooth Decay Is A Disease
People usually assume that cavities happen because of a lack of dental hygiene. While not brushing and flossing regularly can cause cavities to form, the truth is you could stay on track with your teeth cleaning and STILL be at risk for tooth decay. The truth is that tooth decay is the result of a disease known as dental caries.
Dental caries is caused by specific germs that can be spread easily within families. Children are especially prone to getting dental caries. It’s more common among young kids than any other chronic illness, including diabetes and asthma.
There are many reasons why children develop dental caries at a young age. A high sugar diet can be one cause of it: The germs that fuel dental caries love sugars! A lack of fluoride can also be a contributing factor. Children have been exposed to less fluoride over the years, thanks to the ever-growing popularity of bottled water.
It’s sad to say but parents are a leading cause of cavities. Children are born without these harmful bacteria in their mouths. Parents end up passing these cavity-causing bacteria to them by sharing toothbrushes or utensils with their children. If you’ve had a history of getting cavities yourself, you’re particularly likely to pass those dental caries germs along.
Not Just For Baby Teeth
Developing cavities at a young age can be serious. Parents often make the mistake of thinking that it doesn’t really matter: The baby teeth are going to fall out, after all. But it isn’t that simple. The cavity-riddled tooth will fall out eventually and be replaced by a permanent tooth. What doesn’t fall out, however, is the bacteria that caused the cavity in the first place. Those germs will stowaway in your mouth and wait for your permanent teeth to grow in. And once your new teeth have come in those germs will get back to their unpleasant work.
Related: When to Consider Dental Implants
Schedule your child’s visit today! Give Imagine Dental a call at 480-719-6420.