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Cavities: Causes and Symptoms

Most kids are worried about being told that they have cavities. They realize that if they have cavities, they’re going to need to get them filled. For this reason, it is understandable that parents and children alike want to know what causes cavities, what the symptoms of cavities are and how they can be avoided.

For the cause of cavities, look no further than the bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria have the ability to damage the surface of the teeth. If the damage is not stopped or if the bacteria are not removed, the damage will find its way to lower levels of the teeth.

Unfortunately, some children are genetically susceptible to cavities. But even for these individuals, having cavities is preventable. If they have a good diet, take care of their teeth and have regular dental visits, they can prevent a lot of the decay.

The first indication of these harmful bacteria in the mouth is the formation of plaque. The bacteria in the mouth multiply exponentially when a child eats foods that have sugar. If the sugar is not removed from the teeth, the bacteria are going to continue to eat the sugar and create acid. This acid will combine with other bacteria, saliva and remnants of food to create plaque. Plaque is that sticky film you see on the teeth if you do not brush them for a day or two.

Once plaque is stuck, the acid that is produced by the bacteria starts to attack the enamel. The enamel is the hard exterior surface of the teeth. These microscopic holes that are created in the teeth by the bacteria and their acid are the beginning of cavities.

Slowly, the bacteria and acid work its way through the levels of the teeth. They will continue to erode the teeth until they attack the pulp, or the center of the tooth. A cavity can even get so bad that the bones that support the teeth may be affected. Once this happens, a child is going to start to feel that unique pain associated with a toothache.

In response to the bacteria, white cells are going to multiply in the mouth. The result will be an abscessed tooth, and the child may then need a root canal.

When it comes to cavities, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Be diligent. Make sure your child brushes and flosses their teeth multiple times a day. If they cannot brush their teeth immediately after eating a meal, then they should use water to wash out their mouth. Make sure to also watch their diet.

During an appointment at Ashburn Children’s Dentistry in Ashburn, you can learn more about cavities, including ways to prevent and treat them. For kids who already have them, we offer tooth-colored fillings without uncomfortable shots and loud drills. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our office.

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