Your pediatric dentist may seem adamant about brushing and flossing, and there’s good reason! A cavity begins to develop when plaque is left to collect around the gums and teeth. It isn’t easy to see because it’s colorless, but kids might describe it as “that sticky stuff that makes your teeth feel dirty.”
Plaque is formed when the food that we eat comes together with our saliva to make the bacteria that is so harmful to tooth enamel. The enamel is the outer covering on our teeth that protects them from infection. Plaque contains acid which is one of the things that can destroy enamel if it is allowed to stay on the teeth for too long a time.
The only way to get rid of plaque is to brush and floss after every meal and every snack. Your dentist knows that the chances of getting your child to do that are slim and that sometimes it’s just not practical, that is why diet is also a top priority. Plaque loves sugar. Every time our kids eat a piece of candy or drink a soda it adds to plaque buildup.
You may think that the sweeter a candy tastes the more damage it can do when actually just the opposite is true. It’s the acid factor again, ph levels can measure the acidity content of our food, and sour candies are shown to have a higher ph level than the sweeter ones. Sucking on a piece of hard sour candy is just about the worst thing we can do to the enamel of our teeth.
We know that we can control the buildup of plaque by brushing and flossing it away twice a day, but tartar is a different thing. If we don’t take care of our teeth the plaque that is left to fester will harden and become tartar, which is not nearly as easy to deal with. Brushing won’t get rid of tartar, it will have to be scraped off by a pediatric dentist or hygienist using a special dental instrument.