What Causes Cavities and Why Do My Children Keep Getting Them?

what causes cavities and why do my kids keep getting them

Many factors can lead to an increase in the prevalence of cavities. However, preventing these cavities is possible and can be reversed if caught early. Candy and sweets are the biggest causes of children’s cavities but also other causes.

Let’s see how they are formed to understand better factors that can cause tooth cavities.

Cavities and Bacteria

Many different bacteria attack the human body and become part of it. These bacteria live peacefully in our bodies until something goes wrong. When your body is disturbed from the normal bacterial balance, conditions change and lead to disease. This is particularly true for dental cavities.

One type of bacteria is Streptococcus Mutans, which is believed to be the culprit of the cavity’s initiation. These bacteria are present in the mouth and are relatively harmless until your mouth is disturbed. When the disturbance occurs, the bacteria increase in number rapidly and can stick to outer tooth surfaces and form plaque.

Plaque is a sticky film rich in bacteria and other salivary components. Streptococcus Mutans love plaque because it provides a perfect environment to multiply and is also sticky. These bacteria break down sugar or any fermentable carbohydrate and convert it into acid and energy that the bacteria need to reproduce.

The bacteria’s acid dissolves the calcium and other minerals in your kid’s tooth enamel. Once the calcium in the enamel has dissolved, the enamel becomes weaker, and when the situation progresses, the affected spot becomes a cavity eventually. So, what causes these bacteria to multiply?

Cavities: A Multifactorial Process

Dental cavities are a multifactorial process where several factors work in concept to produce the results. Something could have gone wrong with your kid’s tooth making it more prone to decay. So, according to our dentist at Family Dental Lincoln, NE, some of the factors contributing to cavities include:

    • Tooth Structure- Enamel Quantity and Quality: Some kids are born with weaker tooth enamel due to fewer mineral components of their tooth’s outer layer, leaving it more prone to decay. This could be caused by illness, issues during infancy or pre-birth, or genetic predisposition.
    • Tooth Anatomy- Grooves in Teeth: Some teeth are groovy, especially molars. Food gets stuck easily, and plaque builds up there while bacteria reside deep in those grooves, making it the most common site of cavities.
    • Bacterial Transmission: Bacterial imbalance causes cavities in your kid’s teeth. Our dentist in Children’s Dentistry in Lincoln says that the earlier your child is exposed to large Streptococcus Mutans bacteria, the more they’re likely to develop cavities.
    • Saliva Quantity and Quality: Saliva helps wash debris off dental surfaces and has calcium that helps build back demineralized teeth. However, if your child has thick saliva, it won’t be able to do its job effectively. In addition, some conditions like diabetes cause the saliva to be scarce. Usually, your saliva becomes more fluid and increases when you are eating or feeling hungry and decreases and becomes thicker while you’re asleep. That’s why Dr. Rebecca Scott discourages bedtime feedings and encourages regular flossing and brushing before bed.
    • Mouth Muscles and Tongue: Your tongue and muscles and the saliva in your mouth act as the mouth washing machine. The tongue movement and the cheeks and lips massage during chewing helps clear the mouth from food and sweep the teeth surfaces clean. Your child might have a tongue tie leading to a limited range of movement.
      Also, some children may have muscular conditions that don’t allow all those oral muscles to function as desired. In such situations, your pediatric dentist near you will take additional steps to address any shortfalls where the body cannot perform these functions effectively.
    • Teeth Crowding: When your child has crowded teeth, it becomes harder to clean, and food is more likely to stack in tough-to-reach spaces. This creates hiding spots for bacterial colonies to flourish and cause cavities.
    • Medications: Medications can also be a contributing factor to childhood dental cavities. Some medications can decrease salivary flow and reduce saliva’s cleaning power, resulting in dental caries.

    Ready to Get Your Child’s Smile on Track?

    Request a dental appointment at Lincoln Children’s Dentistry today! Our team is determined to help your child have a healthy mouth. They’ll also teach you how to prevent cavities. We are open from Monday to Thursday. Welcome!

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