Commonly Asked Questions About Dental Caries
Why does my child need a caries risk assessment?
High risk children get many cavities. Cavities are expensive to fix. They cause pain and infection. Early loss of deciduous teeth leads to orthodontic problems.
These cavities are preventable.
Who provides the assessment?
A trained and experienced pediatric dentist can take your family history, ask some questions about your diet, look at your child’s teeth and give you a realistic estimate of how prone your child is to caries.
How common is dental caries?
Most people never get a cavity. Over half of adults have had no cavities. Only about 10% get early childhood caries. Only a fourth or a third of preschool children get cavities. Cavities are not normal.
If my child is at high risk for caries, what can I do to prevent cavities?
- Eliminate sugar from the diet. This is your most effective tool.
- Drink fluoridated water. This prevents about half of the cavities. In other words drink tap water with fluoride rather than bottled water and sweet drinks.
- Seek regular dental care from a pediatric dentist who provides preventive services like sealants and fluoride varnish.
- Tooth brushing with a fluoride toothpaste at bedtime prevents some cavities but is your least effective tool. It is typical to hear patients say they brush their teeth every day but still get many cavities.
Do cavities run in families?
Yes. If one of your children has cavities your other children are probably prone to cavities as well. If grandma had dentures at an early age, the grandchildren are more likely to get cavities.