Are Cavities More Common in Kids?
Dental cavities are extremely common among both children and adults. But is there any correlation between cavities and age? That’s the question we address in this article. But first, what exactly are cavities?
Simply put, cavities start with plaque, a sticky film of bacteria which collects around the gumline and on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. When bacteria in the plaque eats your dietary sugar, an acid byproduct is released, which destroys tooth enamel and creates tooth decay. Severe decay eventually leads to pits or holes, called cavities, as well as infection, bad breath, sensitive teeth, and tooth loss.
What the Statistics Say
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, cavities affect 92% of adults 20 to 64, while 42% of children ages 2 to 11 develop cavities in their primary (baby) teeth, and 21% of children 6 to 11 develop cavities in their permanent teeth. So, an overwhelming majority of adults get cavities, and nearly half of children get cavities. But the statistics are difficult to interpret, because the age range for adults is much wider than the age range for children; the wider the age range, the higher the percentage to be expected.
What Makes Kids’ Teeth Susceptible to Cavities?
The enamel on primary (baby) teeth is not as hard as the enamel on the adult teeth that will replace them. As a result, children's teeth are often more susceptible to decay than adult teeth. In fact, kids can get cavities as soon as they have teeth! Plus, cavities and infections in baby teeth can spread to the underlying developing permanent teeth.
It’s critical to keep your infant’s mouth clean, even before their first tooth erupts. After each feeding, gently wipe their gums with a clean, damp cloth or gauze. Moreover, we recommend that your child’s first dental visit should take place soon after their first tooth appears, and no later than their first birthday. As soon as two of their baby teeth touch, begin flossing between their teeth once a day. You may need to help your child brush and floss their teeth until around age 6.
How to Avoid Cavities at Any Age
Regardless of age, poor diet and poor oral hygiene are the primary culprits that lead to cavities. Daily brushing and flossing and regular dental checkups are the surest methods of cavity prevention. Additionally, drink plenty of water, eat nutritious and balanced meals, limit sugary snacks and drinks, and chew only sugar-free gum.
More Questions? We Have Answers!
If you have any questions about your youngster’s teeth, or if it’s just time for their checkup, contact Amber Hills Dental today to make an appointment with our expert team.