Pediatric Dentist in Carlsbad,CA and The War On Cavities
I Brush, I Floss, I allow no sugar, and My Kids STILL have Cavities!
One of the most prominent lessons children learn is that sometimes, life just isn’t fair. And nothing hurts my ears more as a board certified pediatric dentist, than hearing a child has stepped up their oral health game, only to fall victim to more cavities! But before we go crazy with the brushing and flossing 20 times a day, let’s take a look at the bigger picture.
The mouth is the beginning of the digestive tract. As new literature emerges, more studies are finding that our digestive tract controls many of the ailments in our bodies, and considering the mouth is the starting point, it’s time to take a serious look at the bacteria hiding in our gums and teeth.
Bare with me for a moment while I throw some chemistry at you… pH is the measure of acidity or alkalinity. The lower the pH, the more acidic something is. The pH scale goes from 1 to 14, 1 being the most acidic, 7 being neutral, and 14 being the most alkaline. The number 5.5 is important when it comes to the mouth, because below a pH of 5.5, the teeth start to demineralize, and cavities start to form. There are good and bad bacteria living in every mouth, and not all mouths are created equal. Most “good” bacteria thrive in alkaline environments. This is a fancy way to say that they prefer a “neutral to basic” environment. As soon as we eat, the pH of our mouth can drop below 5.5 into the acidic territory, and can wreak havoc! It can take up to 20 minutes for our mouths to recalibrate back to neutral.
So, let’s take the average adult who has 3 basic meals; breakfast, lunch and dinner, the occasional cup of coffee, and perhaps a snack or two. If we take into account that our mouths are acidic for a minimum of 20 min from the time we finish our meal or drink (assuming you are an alien and can finish your meal in less than a minute), then our mouths are acidic for a minimum of 2 hours!
Breakfast: 20 min
Coffee: 20 Min
Snack: 20 min
Lunch: 20 min
Snack: 20 min
Now let’s apply the same philosophy to a growing child. I will use the term of endearment, “grazer” to be more exact. Children snack and drink throughout the day. Getting a growing child to eat a consolidated meal is difficult, and even harder to have a toddler sit down and enjoy their milk. So if your child, whether baby or teen, is constantly eating or drinking throughout the day, their mouth is acidic, and therefore cultivating a safe haven for cavities!
I can hear it now, “my kids aren’t allowed juice, or sugar, and don’t eat grains!” Unfortunately this doesn’t put us in the safe zone. The mouth doesn’t discriminate. Your child’s favorite snack may be orange or apple slices, with a pH of 3.3! That’s quite an acidic snack. Even broccoli has a pH of 5.3. So you don’t have to be feeding your child junk for them to have a highly acidic mouth.
This is just one of many contributing factors, but as parents, we have to remember that brushing and flossing isn’t the end all to cavity prevention. Come in to The Brush Stop Pediatric Dentistry, in La Costa, to learn more about how you can help your child fight off cavities, and keep their digestive tracts from acid attack!
More About The Brush Stop Brush Pediatric Dentistry
The Brush Stop Pediatric Dentistry is located at the cross streets of Rancho Santa Fe Rd, and La Costa Ave., in Carlsbad, California. At The Brush Stop, we work as a team, and we believe that working with kids and teens of all ages is a privilege. We honor and appreciate parents who place trust in us to give their child the best treatment, and feel that nothing is more rewarding than seeing a child happy. It is the purpose behind our work, because there is no greater gift to humanity than a child’s smile.
Also, check us out at www.thebrushstopdental.com or call us at 1-760-635-5995.
– Dr. Jenna Khoury DMD, a Board-Certified Pediatric Dentist in Carlsbad, CA.