Cavities And Kids: FAQs About Dental Decay And The Children’s Dentist

Why does your child have a cavity—or more than a few? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over half of six- to eight-year-olds have had a cavity. If your child is one of the many pediatric patients with dental decay, take a look at what you need to know about the culprits behind cavities and the ways a children's dentist can help.

What Causes Childhood Cavities?

Cavities (also known as dental caries or tooth decay) don't have one universal cause in childhood. Like adults, children who don't have a consistent at-home oral care routine or eat sugary foods/drink sugary beverages are at a greater risk for cavities. 

Sugary foods feed the bacteria in your child's mouth. The acids they produce wear away dental enamel and can cause decay. If your child eats candy, cookies, or even starchy and high-carb foods (such as white bread or bagels) often, they may develop cavities. Along with the obvious cavity causers, some sneaky childhood favorites, such as oranges or apple juice, can also raise the risk of dental decay.

Are Care And Sugary Foods the Only Reasons Your Child Has Cavities?

Even though how your child cares for their teeth and what they eat or drink can make it more likely that your child will have cavities, these aren't the only causes. Bottled water, low saliva flow, lack of proper in-office dental care, and even genetics can put your child's teeth at risk. 

How Can Bottled Water Raise the Risk?

Unlike tap water, bottled water isn't fluoridated. The added fluoride in tap water can help to decrease dental decay. Fluoride can strengthen dental enamel. This hard outer surface protects your child's teeth from the bacteria and acids in their mouth. Without enamel, your child's teeth are vulnerable to decay-causing bacterial attacks. 

How Can You Prevent Childhood Cavities?

The first steps to cavity prevention include making healthy lifestyle changes. You may need to help your child improve their at-home care. Monitor their brushing and flossing. Make sure they spend at least two minutes twice a day brushing their teeth. You may need to help them to reach every area of their mouth or floss properly. 

If sugary foods or beverages are at fault for an increase in cavities, change your child's diet. Eliminate or reduce the amount of high-sugar or starchy foods they eat and swap out fruit juices or sodas for tap water.

How Can A Dentist for Kids Help?

While at-home changes can affect your child's dental health, these aren't the only ways to prevent cavities. Regular visits to a kids' dentistry practice for cleanings and check-ups can also help to reduce the risks. A professional-level cleaning removes cavity-causing tartar buildup and the exam provides a way to detect decay early on. 

For more information, contact a company like Treasured Smiles Dentistry.