Cavities are a fact of life for kids of all ages. In fact, tooth decay is the #1 most common preventable childhood disease in kids of all ages. Over half of all kids between the ages of 6-8 have had at least one cavity in a baby tooth. Not only that, but about 57% of kids between the ages of 12-19 have had at least one cavity in an adult tooth.
But if your child seems especially cavity-prone, you may be wondering why. Do some kids just get more cavities than others? What can you do about it? Read on, and learn about some of the most common factors that may make your child more likely to get cavities.
Once kids start brushing on their own, they may not thoroughly brush their teeth, or brush their teeth for a long enough period of time. Your child needs to brush their teeth at least twice a day for two minutes. Ideally, they should brush once in the morning, and once at night after their last meal.
If your child isn’t doing a good enough job brushing on their own, consider supervising them, or brushing as a family. You can lead by example, make sure they're cleaning their teeth properly, and reduce their risk of cavities.
Even if your child brushes regularly, they won’t get the best cavity protection benefits unless they're using fluoride toothpaste. Despite what you may have heard, fluoride is 100% safe for kids and adults of all ages.
Fluoride helps attract certain minerals to the tooth enamel every time you brush. This reverses the damage done by oral bacteria and acid, strengthens your teeth, and prevents cavities. Make sure your child brushes with a fluoride toothpaste that has the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval.
Sugary foods like candy and cookies and sugary drinks like soda and juice are very bad for your child’s teeth, and should be consumed in moderation. The bacteria that cause cavities love to feed on sugar.
Some starchy snacks like chips and crackers can also contribute to cavity risk. Reducing the amount of sugar your child consumes and feeding them a healthy diet can go a long way when it comes to cavity prevention!
If your child doesn't drink enough water, they won’t produce as much saliva. Saliva helps wash away food particles and neutralizes acid in the mouth, so this can lead to a higher risk of tooth decay. This may also happen if your child tends to breathe through their mouth, or takes medication that reduces saliva production.
There are also some genetic conditions like enamel hypoplasia that may reduce the overall thickness, strength, and density of your child’s enamel. Kids who have weak enamel will usually be more likely to get cavities, even with a healthy diet, good oral hygiene, and regular visits to the dentist.
If your child is cavity-prone, bringing them to see a pediatric dentist in Arlington such as Dr. Shwetha Rai is one of the best ways to protect their smile and reduce the risk of cavities in the future. With treatments like pediatric crowns and drill-less cavity treatment with Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF), we can eliminate cavities and restore your child’s oral health.
Not only that, but with frequent teeth cleanings and oral exams, the team at Shirlington Pediatric Dentistry can recognize cavities early, provide you and your little one with tips on cavity prevention, and keep their smile healthy. So don’t wait. Contact us online or give our team a call at (703) 646-1805 to schedule a consultation right away.