What Causes Cavities in Kids & How to Prevent Them?

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"Cavities are like parking tickets. They show up by surprise and steal all your pocket money."
One in every five children has at least one untreated decayed tooth. A research piece indicates that 42% of children in the age group 2-11 develop at least one cavity in their baby teeth. Dental cavity, also called tooth decay or dental caries, is one of the most common chronic diseases that affect kids of all ages. It may cause unbearable pain and infections. And if left untreated, kids may face problems while playing, speaking, learning, or other daily activities. This brings us to the big question:
"What causes cavities in kids, and how can you prevent them?"
Let's dive straight into it.

What Causes Cavities in Kids?

Cavities are preventable. That's the good news. But, if you want to protect your kid(s) from cavities, you need to understand what causes them. Cavities are caused by bacteria called 'streptococcus mutans.' This group of germs feeds on sugar and produces acid, which dissolves minerals on the kids' outermost layer of the tooth called 'enamel.' And as time progresses, the middle layer called 'dentin' will also be affected. If left untreated, cavities may also affect the blood vessels and the nerve of the tooth. Cavities are caused when foods containing carbohydrates like soda, milk, raisins, fruit juices, bread are left on the teeth. Brushing and flossing help prevent the buildup of food and the germs that cause decay. One of the big reasons cavities are common in kids is that they don't brush their teeth properly. More than one in every three kids don't brush their teeth enough. Children should brush their teeth at least twice a day. However, some brush only once. It has been reported that some kids forget to brush entirely. Cavities are preventable with excellent diet practices and oral hygiene. But, like we already know, most children don't know how to brush their teeth properly until they are at least six years old. Hence, parents should supervise them or brush their teeth themselves until they are old enough. Some kids floss their teeth incorrectly. Whereas some don't do it at all. As a result, the food particles get stuck between the teeth. Kids that love eating sweets and starchy food items develop cavities. Hence, it's important for parents to look after their diet.

How to Prevent Cavities in Kids?

Now that we know what causes cavities in kids let's look at how you can prevent them. So, the first step is to monitor your child as they brush and floss their teeth. If your kids aren't aware of how to best brush and floss then it is important to help and teach them. Parents should ensure that their children brush their teeth at least twice daily. Schedule dental visits twice a year or once every six months. While young babies don't have teeth, parents should note that their babies can still have germs inside their mouths. Hence, they should wipe off their germs after each feeding with a soft cloth. Monitor your child's diet. If your kid has a sweet tooth, avoid starchy items. Instead, offer them healthier alternatives like frozen bananas, cheese sticks, low glycemic fruits, yogurt.


Cavities are common in children. And it's important for parents to monitor their kids' oral hygiene plus diet practices. They can even develop in toddlers. Hence, it's important to identify the early signs of cavities. So, it's recommended to schedule regular dental visits. And if you reside in Howard county, but even if you don't, feel free to reach out to the #1 Pediatric Dental practice for advice and guidance. At Front Row Pediatric Dentistry, we are dedicated to delivering the highest quality dental health care with a sense of friendliness, individual pride, compassion, and company spirit.
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