Most of the time cavities are due to a diet high in fermentable carbohydrates and a lack of brushing and flossing. These carbohydrates not only included cookies and candies, but rice, bread, potatoes, and pasta as well! Three things are necessary in order to make a cavity: 1) carbohydrates; 2) cavity-causing bacteria; and 3) time (In this case, the number of minutes that the carbs are on or in-between the teeth).
Every time someone eats, an acid reaction occurs inside their mouth as the bacteria digests the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time the acid environment can destroy the tooth structure, eventually leading to cavities.
Consistency of a person’s saliva also makes a difference as thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food more quickly. When a person eats diets high in carbohydrates and sugars, they tend to have thicker saliva, which in turn produces more of the acid-producing bacteria that causes cavities.
Some tips for cavity prevention:
- Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
- Encourage brushing, flossing, and rinsing.
- Watch what you drink.
- Avoid sticky foods.
- Make treats part of meals.
- Choose nutritious snacks.