starter-cavities-1What are “Starter Cavities”?

For those of you who have been to our office you know that we strive to be practical and conservative in our diagnosis. The truth is we do not treat every little thing that we see in a child’s mouth or on their x-rays. Not every little spot on a tooth is considered decay. If it is decay it may not be progressed enough to make it worth treating before a tooth falls out. We call these areas “starter cavities” or “precavities”. Perhaps your child has one or two of them in their mouth. Many things can lead to these areas of weakness but what does this all really mean?

Analogy of an Apple:

Teeth have a hard outer shell called enamel. This enamel is like the skin on an apple. The skin while thin provides a very important barrier to the inside of the apple, which can easily rot when exposed to the outside elements. An apple may have a spot or defect in it but until the skin is broken the inside remains normal. Baby teeth have a very thin layer of enamel. Areas where staining or the enamel has started to break down we generally do not treat but we do monitor, as these are the areas most prone to leading to a cavity.

What can you do to keep these “starter cavities” from turning into a real cavity? The basics!

1. Brushing Two times a day (after breakfast and right before bed is best)

2. Use fluoride toothpaste and spit out but don’t rinse. Have nothing to drink after your bedtime brushing.

3. Limit milk, juice and other drinks with sugar to mealtimes only. Drink water and sugar-free the rest of the time.

4. Visit your dentist regularly to ensure any areas do not need special attention

Good luck in preventing or stopping those “starter cavities” from becoming bad!