The mouth is full of necessary bacteria, but it can be harmful if it is the type of bacteria found in plaque.
The hardest substance in your child’s body is enamel, which is comprised of minerals. The problem is that although it is so hard, it can be prone to damage because of its porous nature. When the enamel is penetrated by another material, it weakens and that leads to mineral loss that makes teeth susceptible to decay. Over time, that decay can lead to dental cavities. The mouth is full of necessary bacteria, but it can also be harmful if it is the type of bacteria found in plaque. The bad type of bacteria feeds off sugar and carbohydrates, which leaves behind the by-product of harmful acid that causes demineralization.
The Effects of Bad Bacteria
If the bad bacteria is left to grow and multiply, that can expedite tooth decay in children. The best weapon against bad bacteria is saliva. It works to not only clear the mouth of bad bacteria, but it also provides key minerals like calcium, phosphate, and fluoride, which are all important to rebuilding the enamel.
This means that every day there is literally a battle going on in your child’s mouth – of saliva doing its job and bad bacteria working against it. This is why it’s so important to enforce good oral habits early on to decrease enamel breakdown. The first line of defense that you have is to watch what your child eats and drinks. What they eat has a huge impact on fighting against cavity-causing bacteria. If the bacteria have nothing to feed on, they can’t thrive and multiply.
How to Limit Tooth Decay
To limit tooth decay, you have to minimize sugary drinks, crackers, processed foods, and bread. These all lead to decay and help the bad bacteria “win.” If you explain to your child how the process works, then you can help to tip the balance of good and bad. You might also convince them to eat highly mineralized foods like cheese, carrots, leafy greens, eggs, celery, apples and fish to promote the build-up of their enamel to repair and restore the natural strength of their teeth.
The other way to keep bacteria at bay is to develop healthy brushing habits. Using toothpaste that is rich in fluoride is also essential to strengthen your child’s enamel. It takes a comprehensive strategy by both you and your kid to help keep their teeth healthy and strong.
Protecting Dental Health
You can protect your child’s dental health by helping them understand how saliva and bacteria are constantly working against one another, and that the only way to keep tooth decay at bay is to eat the right foods, avoid the wrong ones, and brush regularly with fluoride toothpaste. Building the perfect balance will help keep the bad guys at bay and give the good guys the tools they need to fight back and stay strong.