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Dental Details: Q&A with Dr. Virts

Michael Virts

Dr. Michael Virts, DDS
Mount Airy Children’s Dental Associates
Frederick County, Maryland

What causes cavities in children’s baby teeth?

Bacteria causes cavities. The bacteria eat the sugar that is left on the teeth after eating or drinking, then create acid, and the acid erodes the teeth, making a cavity. Cavities are caused by a combination of bacteria and a carbohydrate source.

If the bacteria were left on the teeth by not properly brushing or flossing, cavities can develop. And a proper diet low in carbohydrates is almost just as important as brushing and flossing to prevent cavities as well as seeing the dentist by the time your baby is 12 months old.

When should children get their first oral health exam?

Children should see a dentist no later than 12 months of age or when the first tooth appears in the mouth—whatever comes first. For example, if a 6-month-old baby gets a tooth in, then it’s time to see the dentist. Unfortunately, many children end up seeing a dentist for cavities for their first visit instead of seeing a dentist preventively at any early age. Cavities are a very preventable but common disease of childhood. And cavities are the No. 1 reason for missed school days in the United States.

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