What Causes Cavities in Children?

Does your child often complain of pain or food trapping in teeth? It can be a sign of dental cavities. Dental caries or cavities is a common problem that affects millions of children and adults worldwide.

Toddlers and young children are particularly more susceptible to caries due to a combination of multiple factors. For this reason, we recommend taking your child for regular dental visits at an early age. This way, we can help diagnose common issues at an early stage and address them with preventive measures.

For better understanding, let’s understand the common causes of dental caries among children.


Causes of Dental Cavities in Children

As stated above, the occurrence of dental cavities is multifactorial. It is often believed that sugar is the prime cause, but many other factors among children lead to dental caries.


Presence of plaque deposits
When we eat food, its remnants combine with saliva and oral bacteria to form a layer of plaque. It is a yellowish, sticky substance that deposits on the tooth surface, usually near the gum line.

Plaque harbors many harmful oral bacteria that cause dental caries. Because children cannot maintain a proper care routine, plaque deposition increases, leading to dental cavities.


Tooth anatomy
The structure and form of baby teeth are different from permanent teeth. Primary teeth have a thinner enamel, which is less resistant to bacteria. Furthermore, primary teeth have deep grooves and pits that provide easy access to oral bacteria.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD), around 90% of cases of caries among children originate from grooves on tooth surfaces.


Oral bacteria
As we mentioned earlier, oral bacteria are the leading cause of dental caries. Among them, Streptococcus mutans (S.mutans) is the primary culprit. It is usually harmless unless there is an imbalance in the oral cavity.

When these bacteria grow in number, they can rapidly form a layer of plaque over teeth. These bacteria can also transmit among children by sharing toothbrushes or common utensils.


Sugar intake
Young children are often tempted to eat and drink products that are high in sugar. Common examples include candies, lollipops, chocolate bars, artificial juices, flavored milk, etc.

Oral bacteria convert these sugars and carbohydrates into acidic substances that demineralize enamel. This is another primary cause of dental caries among kids.

The risk is higher with products that stick to your child’s teeth, such as caramel toffees or chewing gum.


Lack of oral hygiene
Children are often not able to maintain a proper oral care routine on their own. Due to irregular cleaning or using the wrong brushing technique, plaque continues to build up on their teeth.

In this regard, parents or guardians play a pivotal role in teaching them how to brush their teeth correctly. It takes time and patience, but once they form a regular habit, they can maintain a healthy smile for many years ahead!



If you are concerned about your kid having dental cavities, visit Porter Smiles Dental for comprehensive pediatric dentistry services. Contact us at 281 519 7200 to book an appointment today.