Cavities (Tooth Decay) Symptoms & Causes

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In-Depth

Some children may inherit from their parents "good teeth" and never develop cavities. But more importantly, what your child eats will determine the chance of developing cavities.

Risk factors that put a person at a higher risk for tooth decay include:

  • Diets high in sweets, carbohydrates and sugars. Children's recommends limiting juice consumption to no more than four ounces daily.
  • Water supplies with limited or no fluoridation. Children's encourages parents to use fluoridated water for cooking and drinking, as most bottled water does not have adequate fluoride.
  • Age (children and senior citizens are at an increased risk for tooth decay)

Smart snacking       

When you are deciding on a snack, the National Institute of Dental Research, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), reminds you to think about the following:

  • the number of times a day you eat sugary snacks
  • how long the sugary food stays in your mouth
  • the texture of the sugary food-chewy or sticky

According to the NIDR, damaging acids form in your mouth every time you eat a sugary snack. Consider an alternative, such as raw vegetables, fresh fruits or whole-grain crackers next time the urge to snack strikes.

Symptoms of tooth decay and dental carries

Each child may experience symptoms differently. Yet symptoms may include white spots on the teeth that appear first. Then, an early cavity appears that has a light brown color on the tooth. The tooth color progressively becomes darker.

Preventing tooth decay:

Preventing tooth decay and cavities involves five simple steps:

  • Brush your child's teeth, tongue, and gums twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste, or supervise them brushing their teeth.
  • Floss your child's teeth daily after the age of 2.
  • Make sure your child eats a well-balanced diet and limit or eliminate sugary snacks.
    * Consult your child's physician or dentist regarding the supplemental use of fluoride and/or dental sealants to protect your child's teeth against plaque.
  • Consult your child's physician or dentist regarding the supplemental use of fluoride and/or dental sealants to protect your child's teeth against plaque.
  • Schedule routine (every six months) dental cleanings and examinations for your child.
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- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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