Are Cavities Common for Children Under 5?

The breakdown of tooth enamel or the hard outer surface of teeth is known as tooth decay. Tooth decay can lead to cavities or holes in the teeth. Children often develop cavities after they eat foods like milk, soda, candy, cake, cereal, and bread because the sugars and starches remain on their teeth and form a sticky substance called plaque.

Many parents are surprised to learn that cavities in children under 5 years old are a common occurrence. Here are some signs that may indicate your child has a cavity:

  • Your child seems sensitive to certain foods like hot or cold drinks or sweets.
  • There are white spots on your child’s teeth. These white spots indicate that their enamel is starting to weaken and cavities may be erupting.
  • Your child is experiencing pain around one or several teeth.

Fortunately, there are things you can do as a parent to reduce your young child’s risk of developing cavities. Here are some tips from Wells Family Dental Group in Raleigh.

  • As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, brush their teeth. Use fluoride toothpaste to clean their teeth, tongue, and gums twice a day.
  • After your child turns 2, floss their teeth daily.
  • Fill your child’s diet with plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and other healthy foods. Reduce their intake of sugary foods. 
  • Schedule routine exams and cleanings for your child at the dentist every 6 months or so.
  • If your child uses a bottle at bedtime, be sure to fill it with water rather than juice or formula which contain sugars that lead to cavities. 

If your child does develop cavities, rest assured there is a simple way to treat them. While treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms age, and overall health, it will likely involve removing the decayed parts of their teeth and replacing it with fillings, which are special materials placed in teeth to resolve damage.

For more information on cavities in young children, consult your local dentist.

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Jennifer Shackelford

Hi, I’m Jennifer, the founder and editor of On The Mama Needs, I write about experience with pregnancy, raising kids, and nutrition for both kids and expectant moms.. I love that blogging brings parents together and lets our readers know they’re not the only ones going through these experiences. I love seeing comments on my posts that say “I thought it was just me! I’m so glad it’s not!” Being a parent is hard, but friends and blogs really help.

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