Tooth decay or dental caries is a chronic infectious disease caused by acid forming bacteria that dissolve the surfaces of the teeth, creating tiny holes or cavities. The main causes of tooth decay are a diet high in sugar and the bacteria found in dental plaque that accumulates on teeth. If left untreated, the disease can lead to pain, tooth loss, infection, and, in particularly severe rare cases, death.
Tooth decay is a disease that children are especially vulnerable to. Since the 1990's tooth decay in children has been on the rise in North America and is the most widespread chronic childhood disease. It affects more than 10% of preschool-age children in Canada and is predominantly interproximal (between the teeth). Studies support the evidence that a lack of flossing, poor diet and social habits can be linked directly to this increase.
Tooth brushing alone is not sufficient to prevent tooth decay. A complete oral care routine that includes brushing, flossing and regular visits to see a dental professional is essential to ensure your Child's oral and overall health.
Diets that are high in sugar and highly processed foods are suggested as causative agents in childhood decay. Controlling the amount of sugar and starches in the diet will help prevent decay.
Between-meal snacking may contribute to tooth decay. Choosing nutritious snacks that are low in sugar and do not promote tooth decay helps in the fight against cavities. Foods such as apples and raw carrots, and hard cheese have a natural cleansing action on teeth, making good snack food choices.