What Causes Tooth Decay In Children?

A number of factors could lead to tooth decay forming in a child’s smile, even as young as age one! However, with the right preventive steps at home, you can help protect your little ones from the onset of tooth decay and dental infection. In today’s blog, your El Paso, TX, dentists look at what causes tooth decay.

The Causes of Childhood Cavities

Cavities often occur when particles of sugar and starch cling to the teeth or become stuck between them. When teeth are then not cleaned regularly, these particles remain for bacteria to break down. This process elevates overall oral acidity and coats the teeth in a sticky layer of plaque. Over time, plaque weakens and erodes the enamel, exposing the sensitive inner dentin and allowing a cavity to form, one that will grow more severe and painful with time. For babies and toddlers, milk and juice could coat the teeth, especially if taken at naptime or while falling asleep at night.

Prevention at Home

First, don’t let your very little ones fall asleep with a sippy cup or bottle of milk or juice. Be sure to clean their teeth before bed. For older babies and toddlers, there are age-appropriate toothbrushes available in stores. For babies you can gently clean the tooth with a piece of gauze or a washcloth, or even a small brush that fits over your finger. As your children age, they will need to brush in the morning and at night with an age-appropriate toothbrush, and use a rice-sized blot of fluoride toothpaste when they do. Encourage snacks with less sugar, such as fruit, veggies, nuts, cheeses, whole grain crackers, and yogurt. Try to discourage sodas, as they contain a very high amount of sugar and are definitely linked to cavities.

Prevention in Our Office

At the moment, you will need to take care of your child’s smile on your own, aside from emergency issues, such as damaged teeth or toothaches, which we can still treat. However, once our office finally opens, we will be happy to help with a routine checkup and cleaning, which allows us to monitor the smile and identify possible warning signs of trouble. We also have preventive treatments, like fluoride varnish and dental sealants, to help strengthen smiles and reduce the risk of cavities. If you have any questions about children’s dentistry, then contact our team today.


At Sunny Smiles in El Paso, TX, we’re here to help your little ones enjoy optimal oral health. To learn more about caring for your child’s smile, then contact your El Paso, TX, dentists at Sunny Smiles on Dyer Street by calling 915-859-7000.