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What Are The Causes Of Cavities In Toddlers?

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Tooth decay at any age is bad news, but it is particularly so in children. Not only does it cause a lot of pain, but it can lead to a variety of ongoing problems that extend past your mouth. Oral infections can affect your overall health, including your heart health, so ensuring that you’re avoiding these issues from the time your children are young will keep them healthy throughout their youth. You want to avoid tooth decay from happening by equipping your child with good oral hygiene knowledge and by giving them healthy-nutritious food and drink that have a positive effect on their precious teeth and gums.

Common Causes For Toddler Cavities

Tooth decay is also known as dental caries or cavities. The disease causes damage to the structure of your tooth or teeth. When food particles are left on and in between teeth after a meal or drink, the bacteria in your mouth (plaque) turns the food particles into acid. After a period of time, the acid build up breaks down the surface of your tooth/teeth and creates holes that we commonly refer to as cavities.

It can cause infection, pain, promote the need for antibiotics, and it can ultimately affect your child’s growth. Additionally, if tooth decay gets too extensive, you may even have to extract the tooth.  

Who is at risk?

  • Children with diets that are high in sugar, carbs and sweets
  • Children who aren’t staying hydrated – little to no water in your diet
  • Children who practice poor oral hygiene
  • Children with high levels of bacteria in their mouth (known to cause cavities)

What are the symptoms of tooth decay? Without special training, early tooth decay can be difficult to spot. It is necessary to bring your child to the dentist to seek a professional opinion.

  • First you will notice white spots on the teeth, followed by a light brown colour on the tooth – the colour will get darker and darker in time and the hole will appear
  • Sensitivity to cold food or beverage
  • Sensitivity to foods that are too sweet

How can it be prevented?

  • As soon as your child gets their first tooth, start brushing. Brush the tongue, teeth and gums, twice a day, and show your children how to brush their teeth using proper technique. They may not be perfect at first, but in time – they will develop solid technique.
  • For children 2+, floss their teeth daily.
  • Schedule dental cleanings and exams with the dentist every 6 months.
  • Ensure that your child has a well-balanced diet and limit their sugar intake.

Make good oral hygiene a top priority! Parents should schedule biannual trips to the dentist not only so their children’s mouths can be examined, but so they can get more information from the dentist about the development of their child’s teeth. Contact the Centenary Dental team today to see how we can help keep your child’s mouth healthy and happy!


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Dr. Tali Waksman
A graduate from the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto, Dr. Tali Waksman went on to work as the only dentist on a Native reserve, serving 2000 people after completing a residency at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. With a warm and friendly personality and close attention to detail, she treats every patient like family.