Why Does My Child Keep Getting Cavities?

Feb 13, 2024
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Why Does My Child Keep Getting Cavities?

February is officially National Children's Dental Health Month. This is an event well worth commemorating since oral health is a bigger problem in kids than many people expect. In fact, cavities are the most common chronic childhood disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that more than half of children ages 6-8 have a cavity. 

Clearly, tooth decay is an issue in kids. So if your child keeps getting cavities, they’re certainly not alone. National Children’s Dental Health Month presents us with the opportunity to focus on this pressing issue. 

Gemini Master-Patel, DMD, and our team want to come alongside parents during this month — and beyond — to help you defend your child’s mouth against cavities. 

With family dentistry services, we can provide the regular teeth cleanings and exams your child needs to catch issues early, limiting their risk of tooth decay. Visit us at Riverside Dental in Yonkers and Thornwood, New York, so we can help you help your child keep their mouth healthy. 

Regular cleanings and exams are just two pieces of the oral health puzzle, though. If your child keeps getting cavities, it can probably be attributed to more than missed dental appointments. 

How cavities develop

Tooth decay happens because a harmful type of bacteria eats away at your child’s teeth. This bacteria feeds on sugar, so the more sugar that enters your child’s mouth, the more bacteria can thrive. As it does, it forms plaque, the sticky film that develops on teeth. 

As the bacteria in the plaque feed on sugar, it creates acid. This acid damages your child’s teeth, causing the cavity. 

Fortunately, babies aren’t born with this harmful bacteria in their mouths. Instead, it usually gets introduced by a caregiver. As you share spoons when you feed them, for example, bacteria have the chance to move from your mouth to theirs

If you have a personal history of lots of cavities, be particularly mindful about any ways that saliva could move from your mouth to your child’s. 

Minimizing your child’s risk of cavities

Once cavity-causing bacteria makes its way into your child’s mouth — which usually happens by age two — your main goal should be feeding it as little as possible. To prevent plaque from thriving in your child’s mouth:

  • Limit the amount of sugar they eat
  • Limit high-sugar drinks (including juice)
  • Make sure they brush their teeth twice a day
  • Work with them to floss daily

Brushing and flossing clear plaque from your child’s teeth, protecting them from decay. But if plaque is left unchecked (e.g., in hard-to-reach spots in the back of their mouth), it can harden into tartar. 

To remove tartar, you’ll need to visit our office for a teeth cleaning. Fortunately, if you’re bringing your child in for their twice-yearly appointments, we should be able to address tartar before it leads to serious tooth decay. 

Because kids often have a hard time properly brushing their molars, Dr. Master-Patel offers dental sealants. These simple, painless additions to the tops of their molars protect them from cavities. 

During National Children’s Dental Health Month, we want to work with you to keep your child’s mouth healthy. To schedule an appointment with our team so we can check their teeth for decay, call the Riverside Dental office nearest you or book your appointment online today.