Dental Cavities--A Common Childhood Disease
February 03, 2022
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Did you know that dental cavities are the most common childhood disease in the United States? It’s true; they’re seen 5-8 times more often than asthma which places second.


A cavity forms when mouth bacteria produce an acidic environment in response to foods and drinks. The acidity eats away at your tooth’s protective outer covering and eventually makes a hole that we call a cavity. Once a cavity has started, it keeps growing bigger and bigger unless it is treated by a dentist. If your cavity gets very large or deep, you might get a toothache. Toothaches happen when mouth bacteria is able to go directly into your tooth’s nerve chamber by using the cavity as its path.


Why is this important? Well, one reason is that children with poor oral health often have poor school grades. You might think this is linked to the number of school days missed for dental visits, but studies show school performance is affected even for those children who don’t miss any school for dental visits.


What can you do to help reduce or prevent cavities and avoid emergency dental care?


   Use fluoridated water (tap water or buy bottled water that contains fluoride)

   Use age-appropriate toothpaste that contains fluoride. You will need to help your child brush up until ages 7-9 depending on when their physical dexterity allows proper brushing.

   Don’t put your child to bed with a bottle or sippy cup that contains milk, juice or any other sugary liquid (use water only)

   After your child has brushed his or her teeth for the night, give no foods or sugary liquids (water only)

   See your dentist regularly and have your dentist apply topical fluoride to your child’s teeth


Think seeing the dentist twice a year is expensive? An emergency room visit for a dental infection may total ten times the cost of 2 preventive visits a year. And often the ER will only prescribe antibiotics and medications for pain and tell you to see a dentist. (Remember, antibiotics might take away the symptoms of your infection, but the tooth is still infected.) In cases of serious, life threatening infections, your child may be admitted to the hospital or need to have surgery at an ambulatory surgery center.


The cost created by emergency treatment for something as preventable and treatable as dental cavities is troubling. If you or your child have cavities or think you have cavities or you haven’t had a dental check up in a long time, I invite you to join my practice. Call us at 440-960-1940 or use the contact form on my website at We're located at 1320 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH.


*Note: The information in this article is not meant to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare professionals.