Why Does My 5-Year-Old Have So Many Cavities? The Top 5 Causes

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If your child keeps getting cavities in their baby teeth, you may be wondering what’s wrong. Are some kids more cavity-prone than others? Why does your five-year-old have so many cavities, and how can you prevent the need for fillings in the future? In this blog from First Smiles Children’s Dentistry, we’ll be taking a look at the top five causes of cavities in kids.

1. A Diet That’s Too High In Sugar And Starch

Cavities happen when oral bacteria are able to feed on sugar in your child’s mouth. As these bacteria digest their meal, they excrete acid, which damages your child’s enamel and may eventually lead to a cavity. Because of this, excessive sugar consumption is one of the biggest factors that can lead to cavities in kids of all ages.

Your child should avoid all types of sugary beverages including soda, juice, sweetened teas, and other such beverages. They should also avoid other sweets like cookies, candy, cakes, and so on. Even some foods full of “simple starches” like white bread and crackers can lead to tooth decay. Cutting back on sugar and starch wherever possible will dramatically reduce your child’s risk of cavities.

2. Improper Oral Hygiene 

Some five-year-olds have enough dexterity to brush their own teeth, but it’s important to monitor and ensure they’re doing a good job. If they're not cleaning their teeth thoroughly, they could leave behind food particles that may cause cavities.

We recommend monitoring your little one while they brush to make sure that they're using proper technique, brushing for at least two minutes, and cleaning each tooth thoroughly. Also, make sure your child uses fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride helps remineralize their enamel, and reduces the risk of cavities.

3. Not Drinking Enough Water (Especially Tap Water!)

Saliva is important for washing away food particles, bacteria, and acid from your child’s mouth. If they're not properly hydrated, this can lead to “dry mouth.” Poor saliva production, in turn, may raise their risk of cavities.

Make sure your child drinks plenty of water. And choose tap water instead of bottled or distilled water. Tap water contains very small amounts of fluoride in most communities, which helps protect your child’s teeth against cavities.

4. Mouth Breathing

Related to the above point, if your child frequently breathes through their mouth, this can dry out their mouth and lead to a higher risk of cavities. Constant mouth breathing could indicate an orthodontic issue or a problem with your child’s airway, so discuss this with us at your next appointment at First Smiles Children’s Dentistry and we may refer your child for an orthodontic consultation.

5. Genetically Weak Enamel

Like so many other things about our bodies, our enamel can be affected by genetics. Some kids are born with thinner enamel and weaker teeth due to genetic factors. If your child eats a healthy diet and brushes thoroughly but still gets cavities, their teeth may be weaker than normal. However, preventive care like fluoride treatments and dental sealants from Dr. Ha and the team at First Smiles Children’s Dentistry can help reduce their risk of further cavities and keep their teeth healthy.

Worried About Your Child’s Teeth? Come To First Smiles Children’s Dentistry!

At First Smiles Children’s Dentistry, Dr. Chris Ha provides kind, gentle children’s dentistry for kids of all ages. If you’re worried about your little one’s teeth, we’re here to help. We can help you understand the root causes of cavities, and how you can fight back and keep your child’s teeth healthy. Don’t wait. Contact us online or give us a call at (209) 343-3500 to schedule a consultation today.

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