Are Cavities More Common in Children?

Cavities are considered to be the most common infectious disease in kids. Over 60 percent of children will have a cavity before they reach the age of 5. It might seem to parents that the health of baby teeth doesn’t matter, since they will fall out anyway, but this is incorrect. The lifetime health of the gums and bone of the mouth depend on how well we take care of our teeth from a young age. For this reason, it’s incredibly important for children to practice good dental hygiene.

young boy and girl brushing their teeth

Why Kids Get Cavities

Children are vulnerable to getting cavities for a number of reasons. First, children don’t brush as thoroughly or as often as adults. It’s not recommended that small children use dental floss, since it’s hard to maneuver, so this is one more way they are missing out on good dental hygiene. Kids are also exposed to foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates. This can lead to tooth decay quickly, especially if most meals and snacks fall under these categories.

What Causes Cavities

Dental caries (or cavities) form when the bacteria in the mouth mixes with food particles left in teeth. This creates an acidic environment that breaks down the enamel of the teeth. Once the enamel, or outer layer, of the tooth is destroyed, this leaves the lower layer exposed. A hole forms in the dentin, or underlying layer of the tooth, causing infection that may affect the root. Cavities are serious and need to be treated with a filling.

What to Do to Prevent Cavities in Children

Be sure your child is coming in for a cleaning every 6 months starting after their 1st birthday. Make sure they are properly brushing twice a day. Use a fluoride toothpaste after the age of two. Try to keep candies and sweets to a minimum. Instead, choose healthy snacks like veggies, string cheese, fruits, nuts, and lean protein. All of these are better for teeth than snack crackers, cookies, or cereal.

Please contact us if you have concerns about your child’s dental health, or need guidance on proper dental hygiene for small children. Your children will have you to thank for a lifetime of healthy teeth, so start practicing good habits now. Our dentist for kids in New Braunfels looks forward to seeing you soon!

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