Cavities in Children: all you want to know about it


Cavities are also known as caries or tooth decay and are the most common dental problem among children and adults. All of us might have suffered from dental cavities at some or other time in life and have got a root canal done as the treatment. Cavities can also develop in your kids’ primary or baby teeth. You should never take the problem of cavities in children lightly and should get it treated as soon as possible. If you do not take it seriously then your child can experience severe pain and infection. Here is all you need to know about cavities in children. 

cavities in children
cavities in children

Causes of Cavities in Children

When bacteria in the mouth combine with food, acid, and saliva, there is a buildup of plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance that covers the teeth and eats at the tooth enamel. Also, various foods with sugar and starch in them like Candy, Soda, Cake, juices, milk, milk products, and cereals become more acidic from the bacteria in the mouth. These acids break down tooth enamel and cause infection in kids. If left untreated cavities can become a serious problem for the child. 

Children should brush their teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes. But, some children just brush their teeth once and they also tend to forget to brush their teeth entirely. Also, children are unable to brush by themselves until they turn six years of age. So, an adult should brush the child’s teeth or should be supervising the child when he or she is brushing the teeth. Also, some children do not floss their teeth or are not able to do it properly. In such cases also there are increased chances of developing cavities, as the food trapped in between the teeth does not get removed properly. Flossing can also be very hard for children, so, parents should help the kids in this case also. 

Here is the list of some of the causes of cavities in children

  • Higher levels of bacteria in the child’s mouth.
  • A diet containing too many carbohydrates, sugars, and starch
  • Little or no oral hygiene
  • Drinking water with less or no fluoride
  • Low saliva production.

Signs and symptoms of cavities in children

The signs and symptoms of cavities in each child are different. But, there are some common symptoms that you should look out for. Here are common symptoms of cavities in children. Here are these symptoms

  • White spots on the tooth
  • Formation of light brown color on the tooth
  • Hole in the tooth
  • Reaction to Hot or cold food and sweet food.
  • Darkening of the tooth

Your kid might have a visible sign of tooth decay, then you may have to see a dentist. The dentist will do a tooth filling and restore the tooth. Two types of restoration can be done. One is direct restoration and the other one is indirect restoration. Direct restoration requires one sitting with the dentist to fill up the holes of the cavities. Indirect restoration requires more than two visits in which the tooth is repaired with a customized material. 

If your child has increased swelling in the tooth, fever, pus draining from the tooth, or pain while chewing or eating, then you should consult a doctor immediately. 

How to prevent cavities in children?

Cavities in children is a major issue that parents are facing, but, there are ways to prevent cavities in children. Here are a few things that you should look into and try and prevent cavities.

  • Regular visits to the dentists
  • Good brushing and flossing habits
  • Healthy food should be included
  • Use fluoride in toothpaste

Regular visits to the dentist

You should take your child to the dentist every six months after the first tooth erupts. Regular visits to the dentist will let you know if your child has any dental issues and will teach your kid good dental hygiene practice. 

Good brushing and flossing habits

You should teach your child good brushing and flossing habits right from the time the first tooth erupts. You should stick to that routine strictly. If the child is less than 2 years of age then you should not use a toothpaste containing fluoride. Children aged 3 to 6 years of age should use a small amount of fluoride toothpaste and children above 8 years of age should be supervised while brushing their teeth. The kids should be brushing their teeth in circular motions. 

Flossing once a day is a very good habit and you should do it for your kid until he or she is old enough to do it on his own. 

Healthy food should be included

To maintain and develop good dental hygiene habits, it is very important that the kid should eat teeth-friendly healthy food. You should try not to give your child food that is full of sugar. Food that is rich in Calcium, Vitamin C, and those food that restrict the growth of bacteria are good for the kids. But, letting the kid eat sugar-rich food sometimes will not hurt. 

Use fluoride in toothpaste

A toothpaste containing fluoride prevents tooth decay. Also, your child should be habituated to drinking tap water. Tap water contains fluoride and hence will prevent tooth decay.

 So, this is all we want to let you know about cavities in children. If you know of something else please let us know in the comments section below. 

Himali Parikh
Himali is Parenting Blogger and founder of She had done M.S in Molecular biology from University of New Haven (US) and was working with various Pharma companies. She had started this motherhood and baby care blog for helping other mothers.

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