What is a cavity?

A cavity is a hole in the tooth caused by bacteria that are stuck in plaque on the tooth surface. The bacteria use carbohydrates (all kinds: candy, cookies, crackers, chips) to create an acid attack, which causes the tooth to break down and form a cavity. If cavities are left untreated they can cause pain, infections and problems with the developing permanent teeth.

Did you know?

  • Caries (the dental term for cavity) is the most common chronic disease of childhood in the U.S.
  • More than 40 percent of children have caries by the time they reach kindergarten.
  • Cavities can be prevented! Removing the sticky plaque from teeth by brushing and flossing will prevent the bacteria from being on teeth long enough to cause a cavity.

Why are primary (baby) teeth so important?

  • They help children speak clearly and chew naturally.
  • They form a path that the permanent (adult) teeth can follow into the proper place and at the proper time.
  • Kids have them for a long time! Front teeth last until 5 – 8 years of age and the back molars are not replaced until age 10 – 12.
  • If cavities in baby teeth are left untreated they can cause pain, infections and could cause problems with developing permanent teeth.
  • Healthy baby teeth keep kids in school! Dental pain is common reason children miss school.

Smart Snacking/Diet

Avoid snacks high in sugar. (4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon)

Do not let snacks take the place of nutritionally balanced meals.

Be careful of snacking too frequently between meals.

Choose nutritious food to snack on—pick fruits, vegetables, low-fat cheese, and yogurt instead of sticky snacks like fruit snacks, raisins, and processed carbohydrates.

Have your child measure the amount of sugar in the snack to visualize how much they are consuming!

Clear the snack from the teeth as soon as possible. Brush or swish and rinse with water.

Drink milk with meals and water with snacks. Avoid sugary drinks like pop, juice, Gatorade, and chocolate milk.