4 Common Cavity Culprits in Kids

Jan 18, 2021

Cavity prevention is one of the most important foundations of a healthy smile. That’s why the dental team at Stellar Kids Dentistry in Mukilteo, Mill Creek, and Everett, Washington, is dedicated to helping you and your family keep your smiles cavity-free.

While cavities may seem like a rite of passage for children, there are many steps you can take to prevent tooth decay at home. 

What are cavities?

Cavities are tiny holes that develop from plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth. Plaque releases acids that eat away at your little one’s tooth enamel, leaving their teeth vulnerable to decay.

How do I know if my child has cavities?

The best way to prevent cavities and check for early signs of tooth decay is by bringing your child in to Stellar Kids Dentistry once every 6 months for a teeth cleaning and dental exam. It’s hard to spot cavities just by looking at your children’s teeth at home.

However, there are early warning signs of cavities that your child may experience, such as:

  • Tooth pain
  • Pain when chewing
  • Brown or white tooth stains
  • Tooth sensitivity 
  • Visible holes in the affected tooth

Without treatment, the pits that form from cavities will continue to grow. Treating tooth decay at the first sign of trouble is crucial for preventing further damage.

What causes cavities?

By the age of 11, two out of every five children will develop a cavity. There are many cavity culprits to avoid to prevent tooth decay at home, including:

Fruit juice and sugary drinks

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends limiting your child’s fruit juice intake to 6-8 ounces a day, especially if your little one still drinks from a sippy cup. Oral bacteria thrives on sugar, so it’s important to be mindful of how much sugar your child really consumed in a day.

Sweet drinks are easy to devour. Limiting juice and sugary sodas to mealtimes can also help you curb your child’s sugar intake.


Drinking water instantly washes away bacteria. When your child is dehydrated, they can develop dry mouth, leading to a buildup of bacteria. Most children should drink up to 8 cups of water a day to stay hydrated and to wash away plaque and bacteria.

Candy and snacks

It’s no secret that candy causes tooth decay, but you’d be surprised by how much sugar is in your child’s favorite snacks. Granola bars, crackers, and even dried fruit are all packed with sugar that can cause cavities. To prevent cavities, try to pack your pantry with whole foods, such as fruit, nuts, and veggies.

Fluoride deficiency

Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens your child’s teeth and bones. While fluoride is found in water, certain fruits, and other foods, your child’s diet may not have enough to protect their teeth. Fortunately, Stellar Kids Dentistry offers fluoride treatments, including silver diamine fluoride (SDF), to prevent cavities and stop existing cavities from growing.


For more tips on preventing cavities, call Stellar Kids Dentistry or schedule an appointment online today!