In Westerville Ohio, cavities are a major issue with children and they are more complex than we thought. Yes, sugar is still the leading culprits – and genetics, diet, immunity, oral hygiene, susceptibility, and fluoride exposure play roles, but a large and growing body of research suggests that oral decay is also an infectious disease.
There have been numerous studies that have found cavity causing bacteria can be passed from the primary caregiver to infants and toddlers during a period where the children’s immune systems have not been fully developed. This places young children at a higher risk of cavities. This is called vertical transmission and is most likely with those who have severe or untreated tooth decay.
Recently it has been shown that bacteria can also be passed among siblings and classmates which is known as horizontal transmission. To our Westerville neighbors, it can be very difficult to understand what is best for our children when it comes to oral hygiene.
But it is difficult to quantify what degree these vertical or horizontal transmissions are responsible for cavities. A 2000 study published in the Journal community dentistry and oral epidemiology found that young children with high levels of chief cavity causing bacteria are five times more likely to have tooth decay than those with lower levels. A certain amount of these bacteria are normal in the mouth. But when young children begin to get an overwhelming inoculation of the bacteria before they are able to fend them off with their immune systems, the bacteria can colonize more effectively putting them at a higher risk of cavities.
And then when excessive sugars are present in the child’s diet, it fuels even more bacterial growth. This allows them to reach harmful numbers. If the bacteria are not properly brushed from the teeth, tongue and pallet, they can build up and create plaque. Plaque is essentially food debris that turns into acid.
Cavities are nothing more than a chemical equation because you have enamel that is very hard, but if you throw enough acidic plaque on it, it will begin to decompose. The growing understanding of the role of bacterial transmission and tooth decay in young children has, in part, led an enormous effort by professional dental organizations to educate parents and even general dentists about the need to see children at the early age of one or at least when their first teeth emerge.
It is important that families don’t wait until the child is five years. There are some dentists who don’t always follow these guidelines, of getting a child in at an early age to check the teeth. The problem is that many people are not aware of the direct link between the health of baby teeth and long-term oral health in adults. Even when baby teeth fall out these bacteria continue to flourish. When cavity causing bacteria are left unchecked in people who have serious decay, the bacteria continues to grow and teeth can even begin to fall out.
There are many things a parent can do to help a child keep a healthy mouth. Call Infinite Smiles dentistry in Westerville Ohio today to set up a consultation with Dr. Neal Patel. You will find them very helpful. The education you were will receive will be invaluable for the future health of your child’s oral hygiene.
Call 740 – 881 – 2600 today for consultation.