Top 5 Hidden Causes of Cavities in Kids to Be Aware Of

There are some not so obvious causes of cavities

We all know the most common causes of cavities in kids and adults. Cavities are usually the result of consuming too many sugary and starchy foods, and excessive bacteria from those foods results in a buildup of dental plaque and saliva. As an example, sugary and starchy foods such as juice, cake, candy, soda, cereal, and even milk, become acidic from the bacteria in the mouth. This acid breaks down dental enamel and has the potential to cause cavities. But these more apparent reasons for dental cavities aren’t the only ones. Read on to learn about other habits, behaviors, and conditions that can increase your child’s chances of developing a childhood cavity.

What are the other causes of cavities?

Being proactive about your child’s oral health can often make all the difference. So first, we should probably share one of the most obvious ways to prevent childhood cavities. It all starts at home through the use of proper oral hygiene and a solid oral care routine. This means having your child brush twice a day for two minutes at a time using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. After brushing, have your child floss between all teeth and gums, at least once per day and preferably before bedtime. Finally, please have your child rinse their mouth with a fluoride mouthwash after flossing to ensure all of those loosened food particles get washed away.

Aside from good oral care at home and visiting the dentist twice a year for preventative dentistry, including an oral examination and dental cleaning, it is essential to know some of the hidden causes of childhood cavities. Awareness is half the battle.

1. Chewable vitamins

It always surprises parents to find out that chewable vitamins—supplements that are supposed to be good for their child—can be just as bad for them too. Chewable vitamins, however, especially the gummy kind, stick to teeth. The longer those vitamins stick to teeth and gums, the more likely it is that sugar will cause oral bacteria to spread. And, like we said before, bacteria can cause cavities.

2. Tooth grinding 

Many children grind their teeth when they sleep. And when this is not addressed, it can lead to a dental problem. In fact, ongoing teeth grinding wears down the dental enamel and reinforces improper bite patterns. In turn, this leaves your child’s teeth more susceptible to tooth decay and cavities. If your child grinds their teeth during the night, ask their pediatric dentist in Vancouver, Washington about a mouth guard.

3. Inadequate water intake 

Consuming enough water during the day is vital for your overall health. Water helps regulate your body temperature, lubricates and cushions the joints, and helps rid the body of waste. But water also aids in saliva production. When your child doesn’t drink enough water, it can lead to dry mouth, which is a prime breeding ground for oral bacteria. And we already know what this means: excess bacteria can lead to cavities. Ensure your child consumes enough water each day to nourish their body, keep breath fresh, and wash bacteria away from the teeth, tongue, and gums.

4. Repeated consumption of sugars and starches

We all know that sugar and starch can contribute to the development of cavities, but we might think that just a little bit at a time won’t cause any harm. While consuming just a little bit of sugar or starch is certainly better than consuming a lot, the frequency of the consumption plays a role, too. So if your child is indulging in a bowl of chocolate ice cream with chocolate syrup each night followed by a few Oreos or sugary cookies, chances are they are far more likely to develop childhood cavities than a child who has a few carrots and some ranch dressing before bed.

5. Malocclusion (misaligned teeth)

It’s relatively common for children to experience misaligned teeth, and this is one of many reasons children should see their dentist for an early orthodontic evaluation around age seven. Aside from crooked teeth’s impact on your child’s smile and self-confidence, it can also put them at greater risk for developing cavities. Malocclusion can make it harder to get between the teeth when brushing and flossing. This means that pesky plaque accumulates on teeth surfaces, increasing the chances of a cavity.

Are you worried about the hidden causes of cavities for your child? Request an appointment with Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry today.

If you are concerned your child will develop tooth decay, or you’re worried that your child may be subject to one of the hidden causes of cavities discussed in this article, it is time to request an appointment with their favorite kids’ dentist. The team at Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry in Vancouver, Washington has decades of experience working with children. We provide a caring and comfortable environment and offer a full range of pediatric dental services, including preventive dentistry that helps prevent cavities.