Cavities in Kids - The Truth

We have turned (as we have before) to Dr. Peter Domoto, chairman of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Washington School of Dentistry, to answer some common and some very important questions that parents may have about dental care for their children and to offer some tips so that families can make every month dental health month.


Question: Do soft teeth run in families?

Answer: "Dental scientists now know that soft teeth aren't the real culprit of tooth decay. Rather, tooth decay is an infection that is usually transmitted from mothers to babies during the first year of life. Women of childbearing age who have cavities or have had a lot of fillings are at the greatest risk to infect their newborns with cavity producing bacteria. These bacteria live on sugar that is part of the baby's diet and deposit acid against the child's tooth surfaces."

Question: Does it really matter if baby teeth have cavities?

Answer: "Cavities are the result of a bacterial infection. The infection leads to demineralization of teeth. The demineralization can result in cavities because the enamel is unsupported and collapses. The infection spreads and can cause severe pain and suffering in children. Healthy baby teeth support infant and toddler eating, speech development and establish a healthy environment for permanent teeth that erupt later in life. Healthy baby teeth are also the best space maintainers for permanent teeth."

Question: When do parents need to pay attention to dental health?

Answer: "Children as young as nine or 10 months of age can be infected with cavity producing bacteria. If left untreated, these tooth infections can lead to pain and expensive dental treatment."