They’re not JUST baby teeth!
Many people don’t understand how important baby teeth are! These primary teeth are necessary for children to chew and speak properly. These teeth also hold the space for the permanent teeth to come in. If a primary tooth is lost too early, the permanent tooth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for the other permanent teeth to erupt into the mouth.
Remember that cavities are contagious! The bacteria (usually Streptococcus mutans) are transmitted from one person to another and from one tooth to another. If a primary tooth has an untreated cavity or infection, it is able to spread to the adjacent teeth and cause unnecessary damage.
Healthy snacking is important to help fight against dental caries. To snack healthy, remember a few basic rules.
- Avoid sugary and starchy snacks. Starchy snacks break down into sugars once in your mouth. Sugars encourage the plaque and bacteria in your mouth to release more acids and damage your teeth.
- Avoid gummy, sticky snacks. They stick to the teeth and cause more damage. Even healthy snacks, such as raisins and dried fruits, can cause tooth decay. Avoid gummy vitamins and choose the chewable instead. Avoid fruit snacks and sticky candy.
- Avoid added acids, like phosphoric acid. Tooth decay begins once the pH of the mouth has been lowered to 5.5. Fruits juices are highly acidic and promote tooth decay. Added phosphoric acids in soda not only break down the tooth but reduce the amount of calcium in the teeth and bones!
- Cut down on snacking between meals. This will help prevent plaque from producing acid and will reduce the time that your teeth are exposed to harmful acids.
Try to choose non-sugary and low-fat options when snacking:
- Raw fruits and vegetables
- Whole grain crackers
- Nuts and nut butters
- Unbuttered popcorn
- Chocolate instead of sticky, sugary candy