Why A Child Might Need Some Extra Protection From Cavities

Children's teeth are only temporary, although it's actually unhelpful to think of them in this way. Some children need more help than others when it comes to protecting their teeth from cavities, and there are a number of reasons why this is the case. But why are some children more prone to cavities, and what are some of the ways in which a dentist can give your children's teeth some extra protection?

When Cavities Are More Likely

There are certain circumstances where a child might be more likely to develop cavities. Some of these issues are avoidable, but some of them are out of your control.

  • The configuration of your child's teeth can play a role. Misaligned (crooked) teeth are more difficult to clean, meaning it's easier for cavities to develop, and it might be that your child will require orthodontic treatment.
  • Xerostomia (dry mouth) means your child's mouth has reduced saliva, depriving their teeth of the protective qualities of saliva. As such, cavities are more easily able to gain a foothold. The best way to manage xerostomia depends on its precise cause. 
  • Genetic factors can increase the risk of cavities, as some people are simply more sensitive to the harmful oral biofilm that can lead to cavities.
  • It's not exactly news, but of course, an excessive amount of sugar in a child's diet can severely compromise their teeth.

How can a dentist help if your child is in fact more liable to develop cavities?

What Your Child's Dentist Can Do

There are certain preventative measures that your child's dentist might recommend to give your child's teeth some much-needed extra protection. 

  • Children's dental cleaning is a fundamental part of any checkup. This removes plaque and tartar before the underlying tooth structure can be compromised. The removal of these harmful components also helps your child to avoid gingivitis.
  • Fissure sealants involve a thin, transparent coating of resin being applied to your child's teeth. This typically treats the fissures in your child's molars, and it's essentially a protective coating for these teeth. It won't interfere with the functionality of these teeth and minimizes contact with potentially damaging compounds which can contribute to cavities.
  • Fluoride varnish can be regularly applied at your child's dental checkups. It's painted onto the teeth and lasts for several months, strengthening your child's dental enamel.

If your child is susceptible to cavities, it must be determined if the cause is an avoidable one. If so, this cause must be managed, but a dentist can always give your child's teeth some extra protection to offset this existing susceptibility.