Tooth decay, known medically as dental caries, happens to every person in every age group. Children, however, are a special focus for the prevention of tooth decay. Outside of very rare instances in medical history, children are the only people who can grow new teeth. When the deciduous teeth (commonly called “baby teeth”) are lost during childhood, permanent (“adult”) teeth begin to grow in their place.
A competing theory about the cause of tooth decay considers it to be a manifestation of systemic disease; in other words, the problem originates elsewhere in the body, with tooth decay merely being a result of a larger, underlying health issue that contributes to insufficient mineralization in dentin (hypomineralization). Proponents of this causal theory stress that:
- Under the acid theory, any exposure to sugar in the mouth would raise susceptibility to decay.
- Decay is a complicated process that exhibits both local and systemic factors; the latter appears to be more important.
- Studies have shown that dentin contains a fluid that nourishes teeth and inhibits decay. Sugar consumption causes this fluid to stop, resulting in great likelihood of decay. Other studies have revealed a hormonal basis of mineralization and decay resistance.
- Some studies indicate that certain systemic factors, such as blood calcium and phosphate levels, affect the susceptibility to decay.
Our next article examines the patterns and possible causes of childhood tooth decay.
Dr. Philip Memoli and his staff are ready to repair the damage caused by childhood tooth decay and ensure that our pediatric patients are committed to maintaining healthy teeth as they grow. Call us today at (908) 464-9144 or contact us via our online contact form.
Read more about pediatric dentistry and child dental wellness at http://www.holisticdentistrynj.com/our-services/pediatric-dentistry/.
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