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!

How to Prevent Cavity in Kids

how to prevent cavity in kids pediatric cavity prevention

Even if you suffered from cavities when you were young, it doesn’t mean that your child should develop them. Instead, find out how you should protect your child’s teeth from tooth decay. Practices like eating a balanced diet and using fluoride to strengthen the teeth can set your child up for a healthy smile for life.

What is Tooth Decay in Children?

Tooth decay is the destruction and breakdown of tooth enamel. Enamel is the outer surface of a tooth that is usually hard. Tooth decay leads to cavities which are holes in the teeth.

What Causes Tooth Decay in Children?

Bacteria or other things mainly cause tooth decay. It happens when foods containing sugars and starches are left on the teeth often. Such foods include soda, milk, fruit juices, candy, raisins, cake, bread, and cereals. The combination of acid, bacteria, saliva, and food form a substance called plaque. Plaque sticks to the teeth’s surface, especially on the back teeth. Over time, the acids made by bacteria eat away the enamel causing cavities.

Which Kids are at Risk for Tooth Decay?

All children have bacteria in the mouth. So all kids are at risk of getting tooth decay. But some factors may raise your child’s risk for it:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Having less saliva flow than normal
  • High levels of bacteria that cause cavities
  • Having limited water supply or has no fluoride in it

Signs and Symptoms of Cavity

Dr. Rebecca Scott says that the following is common for teeth to develop cavities and decay. But cavities and decay can be a bit different for each child.

  • It shows a light brown color when an early cavity appears on the tooth
  • Your child has white spots on the teeth in areas affected. These spots indicate that the enamel is starting to wear off or break down. When the cavity becomes more profound, it turns a darker shade of brown to black

The symptoms of cavities and tooth decay vary from child to child. Cavities do not always cause symptoms. Sometimes your child doesn’t know that they have one until a pediatric dentist near you finds it. But the child may feel:

  • Sensitivity to certain foods such as chocolate and sweets and cold and hot drinks
  • Pain in the area around the tooth

How’s Tooth decay and Cavities Diagnosed in Kids?

Our pediatric dentist in Lincoln diagnoses your kid’s tooth decay based on:

  • An exam of the child’s mouth
  • A complete history of your kid
  • By performing dental x-rays

How is Tooth Decay and Cavities Treated in a Child?

Treatment depends on your child’s age and symptoms. It’ll also depend on how severity of the condition.

In most cases, your dentist removes the decayed part of the child’s teeth and replaces it with a filling. A dental filling is a material placed in the tooth to repair damage caused by decay. They are also referred to as restorations. There are different types of fillings in Lincoln Children’s Dentistry. They include:

  • Direct Restorations: These need a one-time visit to the dentist to get it placed directly into the prepared hole. These fillings are made from fine glass powders, silver, resin, and acrylic acids. These filings are often tooth-colored.
  • Indirect Restorations: These restorations require two or more visits. They include onlays, inlays, veneers, bridges, and crowns. They are made of ceramics, gold, base metal alloys, or composites. Many of these restorations look like natural tooth enamel.

How to Prevent Tooth Decay in My Child?

You can help your child practice pediatric dentistry prevention with these simple steps:

  • Floss your child’s teeth daily after the age of 2
  • Please help your child brush their teeth as soon as the first tooth appears. Brush the teeth, gums, and tongue twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. And be there to watch as your child brush their teeth
  • For children younger than three years old, you should use a small amount of toothpaste
  • Ensure your child eats a well-balanced diet. Always limit snacks that are high in sugars and sticky such as candy, chips, and cake
  • If your kid uses a bottle at bedtime, ensure it is water inside. Juice contains sugars that lead to tooth decay
  • Always talk to your child’s pediatric dentist about using a fluoride supplement if you live in an area without fluorinated water.

Essential Pediatric Dentistry Preventive Treatments

important pediatric dentistry preventive treatments (2)

Pediatric dental offices specialize in caring for your child’s oral health. The pediatric dentist in Lincoln also educates parents on how to teach their children oral hygiene at home. Dentists offer suggestions for brushing regularly, supervision, and additional preventive treatments. Dental hygiene includes brushing, flossing, and use of mouthwash depending on the age and abilities of the child.

In reality adults and children have varied dental needs. Children’s needs range from getting their first baby tooth to losing all of them and growing permanent teeth. Children under two, between two and six and those over six all have different dental health needs.

Different Stages Require Varied Steps

The child’s age and abilities require consideration when discussing the available options. Treatments from the pediatric dentist in 68516 and maintenance help keep kids teeth healthy and avoid bad breath. They also prevent cavities and help develop good dental care habits.

Children under Two

Wiping baby’s gums twice a day is the responsibility of parents. The cleaning helps children get accustomed to something being in your mouth. The cleaning is essential to remove sugar and bacteria that cause cavities even before teeth emerge. After the first tooth emerges parents must use a tiny toothbrush with soft bristles and water for the cleaning. Children also benefit from a visit to Lincoln children’s dentistry before age one.

Children between Two and Six

Children should start brushing their teeth as they grow. Parents can help by providing them training toothbrushes and toothpaste in the initial stages. Parents must ensure they watch their child brush to ensure they are learning correct techniques. Parents can help their children by brushing their teeth once a day and having their child practice the next time they brush.

Dr. Bryce Cushing recommends using a preventive pediatric dentistry treatment like dental sealants to help protect children’s teeth against cavities. Simultaneously dentists suggest elimination of pacifiers, bottles, and thumbsucking.

Children over Six

Permanent teeth start emerging by six or seven. Children need regular dental checkups every six months from the children’s dentist in Lincoln, NE, with dental x-rays every year to help the dental professional detect cavities and other oral health issues. Permanent teeth not always emerge straight and fail to emerge at times. X-rays help detect where the permanent teeth are besides identifying other problem.

Dental Treatments

Research reveals that childhood dental caries is prevalent than other childhood diseases. Dental caries during childhood can cause a lifetime of pain and complications for the child. Pediatric dentists have the knowledge to look for signs of infections to provide a customized treatment plan. The dentist might also suggest other preventive treatments for the child which include tooth repair, orthodontic referral to current improper bites or crooked teeth, dental injury care, fluoride treatments, management of gum conditions and diseases, and diet and nutrition recommendations.

Pediatric Dentist near You

The pediatric dentist near you is the best dental professional to care for your child. Pediatric dentists acquire additional education after completing dental school and are trained to manage children with special needs as well. Pediatric dentists have offices customized for children besides having trained staff and unique instruments to make children comfortable during any dental treatments.

If your child is overly uncooperative during dental visits the pediatric dentist can also administer sedation to children to calm them during their procedure. Best of all your child receives a parting gift as a reward for behaving well at the dentists office. The calm demeanor of the pediatric dentist encourages your child to look forward to the next appointment.

Pediatric Dentistry Prevents a Lifetime of Issues

Pediatric Preventive Dentistry in Lincoln

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