My daughter is 12 and has already had 1 root canal and afterwards the tooth broke apart. She had dental crowns on her back molars when she was young, maybe 5 years old. She now has visible tooth decay again, before any sort of discomfort. She does brush regularly and eats the same foods as my other 3 children who have not had a cavity and one of them is 18 years old. Could there be a connection with her stomach acid issues she struggles with or is there no connection. Thank you.
—Jeanette from Illinois
The amount of tooth decay children and adults experience is most directly related to how often they eat. If you want to minimize her decay, you have her stick to her regular meals. It’s not so important what she eats in those meals as how often she’s getting food in her mouth. Every time you eat you get an acid attack by your mouth bacteria on your teeth, and no amount of brushing can fight that because the decay begins in the cracks and crevices that are impossible to clean.
And yes, if she has an acid reflux problem that can also contribute significantly to tooth decay. If there is anything they can do to solve this problem, try to do it, because it can be murder on the teeth. If you have low saliva flow, that also aggravates the decay. And if people don’t brush at all at the necks of their teeth, that affects it also.
When the acid regurgitates from the stomach to the mouth, that attacks the teeth. This will mostly affect the inside surfaces of the teeth, next to the tongue. But it can affect other surfaces.
If there is no way to solve her acid reflux problem, I would ask your dentist for a prescription for at-home fluoride treatments to try to help counteract these attacks on the teeth. They can make a little tray and she could apply the fluoride daily, to help strengthen the teeth against the acid.
—Dr. David Hall.