Cavities in Children: Causes and Prevention

Your child’s oral health has an impact on his/her overall health. Cavities in children can cause consequences that affect their overall health. It continues to be a significant problem in children. If your child even with regular brushing and flossing still suffers from cavities. It does not mean that brushing and flossing are useless. The diet could be the cause. The diet which contains high sugar amount and refined carbohydrates increases the risk of cavities in children. Oral bacteria decompose sugar and produce acids that can break down the tooth enamel, leading to cavities.

Causes of Cavities in Children

Cavities occur when foods accumulate on the teeth. Oral bacteria decompose these foods and produce acids that break down the tooth outer layer (tooth enamel), causing cavities. If left untreated, bacteria may spread to the dental pulp, causing a tooth abscess. Here are some factors that increase the risk of cavities in children:

  • Poor oral hygiene: not taking proper care of your child’s mouth may cause dental problems such as cavities, tooth abscess, and gum disease.
  • Foods and drinks high in sugar: the frequent consumption of foods and drinks high in sugar such as carbonated drinks, fruit juices, starchy foods, and sweet candies may lead to the development of cavities in children.

Prevention of Cavities in Children

To prevent cavities in children:

  • Maintain a good oral hygiene:
    • Babies: clean your baby’s gums with a moist gauze pad after feedings.
    • Toddlers: brush your toddler’s teeth with a small, soft toothbrush. Don’t use toothpaste.
    • School-age children: brush your child’s teeth regularly with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Also, use a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss daily: floss your child’s teeth daily to remove remaining food from between teeth and from places that toothbrush can’t reach.
  • Limit foods and drinks high in sugar: encourage your child to eat healthy foods rich in proteins and calcium. Also, limit food and drinks high in sugars and refined carbs. And replace sugary snacks with fruits. In addition to, tell your child to drink water after sugary snacks or drinks.
  • Sealants: ask your dentist to apply a protective plastic coating (dental sealant) on the chewing surfaces of your child’s back teeth (molars) to protect them from cavities.
  • Visit the pediatric dentist regularly: to detect cavities earlier and treat them before it’s too late. Also, to check the growth and development of your child’s teeth.