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Chicana and Chicano StudiesLatino Health Issues

Causes of Dental Caries

Caring for Your Child's Teeth


Early childhood caries was historically attributed to inappropriate and prolonged bottle useGreen cartoon character is clinching his fists and says, "Germs cause cavities"; hence the older terms of "baby-bottle tooth decay" and "nursing caries." Recent analysis indicates that the disease is multifactorial. Any practice that allows frequent sugar consumption in the presence of mutans streptococci may result in caries formation. Common contributing etiological practices in children include propped bottles containing sweetened liquids, frequent Cartoon that shows a cartoon figure brushing his teeth and wearing sunglasses with the words "I'm too cool for cavities" written around the cartoon.consumption of sweetened liquids from infant- and toddler-size "sippy" cups, and frequent snacking. The caries risk generated by on-demand breastfeeding is unclear, but because lactose is poorly metabolized by mutans streptococci, other concomitant inappropriate dietary practices (e.g., frequent juice consumption or snacking) are more likely to be the culprits. (Am Fam Physician 2004;70:2113-20,2121-2.)

There are several causes of dental caries among children in the U.S. The most prevalent cause of dental cavities in children is the consumption of foods high in sugar content. The following cartoon shows the process that teeth follow in developing these caries.

Picture shows process that teeth undergo in developing cavities and tooth decay. First, sugar (soda, gum, and candy) plus bacteria from plaque forms acid. Then the acid plus a healthy tooth forms decay.

When people eat foods high in sugar, the bacteria from their mouth combines with the sugar to form acid, which attacks the health tooth and causes decay which, when it goes undetected, causes dental caries.

picture of gumdrops Picture of lollipops.Picture of a frosted cupcake with a symbol in front of it that signifies, "Do not eat" or "forbidden"


Accessibility | Privacy | ASU Disclaimer This site was created by Joel Tiffany in fulfillment of requirements for the course CSS 335: Latino Health Issues taught by Dr. Szkupinski Quiroga at Arizona State University, Spring 2005.