Are all the teeth equally susceptible to decay?

Newly erupted teeth with enamel that has not fully matured,teeth with developmental disturbances like hypoplastic teeth and teeth which have got surfaces like deep pits and fissures which accumulate plaque are more prone to decay.

Children having caries in milk teeth are more likely to develop caries in permanent dentition.

What are the food substances that cause decay?

Refined carbohydrates and simple sugars that get easily metabolised by bacteria are the main culprits.Frequency of intake is the primary determinant of the disease than the amount of food.

Sticky food remains in the mouth longer allowing more time for the bacteria to act.Pediatric medicines which are usually sweetened syrups when given in repeated doses over many days also increase the risk of caries.

 How to prevent dental caries?

Prevention has to start from the peri natal period(period around time of birth).The pregnant mother must be made aware that the bacteria present in her mouth can get transmitted into her child's mouth.They also need to be educated against frequent snacking.

Consultation with a pedodontist within six months of eruption of first tooth and not later than 12months of age allows the institution of individualised caries preventive strategies which include dietary recommendations and appropriate oral hygiene instructions as the primary tooth erupt.

Dietary recommendations:

  • Breast feeding-

         Breast milk provides the best nutrition to infants and is not associated with tooth decay but feeding                seven times or more daily after 12months of age can increase the risk of disease.

  • Bottle feeding-

         Children should not be kept to sleep with a bottle containing sweetened milk or juice.

  • Diet - 

         Frequent in between meal consumption of sugary snacks or drinks increases the risk of caries.

  • Oral hygiene-

         Twice daily brushing with fluoridated tooth paste is generally recommended.