How Do I Know If My Child Has A Cavity?

The best way to know if you or your child has a cavity is to speak to a qualified dental professional, like Dr. Chad Bergan at South University Dental Associates. If your child is experiencing one or more of the following risk factors or symptoms, it may be a sign that it’s time to talk to a professional before any potential damage gets worse.

How do you know if your child has any of the common signs of cavities? As a parent, It can be difficult to tell. If you are concerned that your child is experiencing any of the symptoms related to cavities, you should call a reputable family dentist immediately. For families in Fargo North Dakota, consider calling South University Dental Associates to get a dental checkup for your child with a Fargo dentist that works well with children

This is especially important because there may be factors that are putting your children at a higher risk for cavities. Our Fargo dentists will assess their risk for cavities, and give you suggestions to lower that risk. 

Why Is My Child Getting Cavities?

Our mouths are full of bacteria, and while most of these bacteria are completely normal and healthy, some can be harmful to our teeth. When the ratio of healthy and unhealthy bacteria is out of balance, it can lead to bacterial infections, and cavities can result from bacterial infections. Your child's risk of a cavity increases when one or more of these factors are present:

Fluoride Deficiency

Your child may not be getting the recommended amount of fluoride. One way this can occur is if your child is not consuming tap water on a daily basis. Some bottled waters, and most carbonated waters, do not contain fluoride. If your child is drinking primarily from non-fluoridated sources, they are at greater risk of getting cavities.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth happens when there isn’t enough saliva in your child’s mouth. This can be caused by medications, autoimmune diseases, extreme stress, or other factors. If your child has one or more of these factors, their risk for cavities increases. 

High Sugar and Carbohydrate Intake

Many of us are aware that sugar plays a role in degrading our teeth, and can cause damage to our bodies beyond just our oral health. However, we may not be aware that not all sugar is created equal, and some types of sugar can be more harmful than others. If your child often consumes fruit juices, pop, or other types of liquid sugar, they are especially at risk. Sugar acts as fertilizer for harmful bacteria in your child’s mouth, and frequent, all day snacking can further increase their risk. Does your child snack frequently and often consume sugar in liquid form? Their risk for cavities increases as their consumption increases. 

Frequent Vomiting

Vomit can affect the bacteria and enamel of your child’s teeth. Your child may experience an excess of vomiting due to a sickness, acid reflux, eating disorders, or other medical reasons. While you may initially rule out eating disorders as a cause for concern, or even as a possibility for our own children, it’s important that parents are careful to watch for warning signs. Eating disorders are of growing concern for boys and girls at younger and younger ages, particularly as they become middle school-aged. Eating disorders can cause nutrition deficiencies that weaken teeth and negatively impact a child’s immune system. Talk to a healthcare professional if you suspect your teen or child may be struggling with an eating disorder. No matter the cause, If your child experiences vomiting or acid reflux more often than normal, they are at higher risk for cavities.


What are the warning signs that my child has a cavity?

If it has been a while since your child visited the dentist, any of these symptoms should cause you to schedule an appointment immediately. It’s important to remember that a cavity will not go away, and the longer you wait to get treatment, the more extensive the damage may be. This can lead to more painful and expensive work in the long run. Look for these signs if you’re concerned that your child may have a cavity: 

Do they have bad breath? If your child’s breath has an odor, even with active brushing. This may be a sign that decay is occurring.

Do they look like they are experiencing pain when they chew? This could be a cavity or damaged tooth, and should be addressed immediately. 

Do they avoid eating hot or cold food? If your son or daughter is experiencing discomfort from warm or cool foods, this should be discussed with their dentist at their next appointment.

Ask your child if they can feel any chips or cracks on their teeth with their tongue. If they can, it may be a sign of a damaged tooth, and it should be looked at immediately to prevent the potential for more extensive damage. 

Do you see any dark areas in their mouth? This is a sign of active decay, and it often, but not always, accompanied by discomfort. Active Decay is not reversible, but can become worse if left untreated, so it should be addressed Immediately. 

Do you see any chalky white spots? This is a sign of demineralization, which can lead to active decay. However, Demineralization can be reversed with excellent oral hygiene, so if you see the signs of demineralization, take action immediately. 

It’s important to note that any one of these signs may indicate that a cavity has occurred. Furthermore, it is possible that your child may experience a cavity without any of these symptoms being apparent to you. That is one reason why it is important for your kids to receive dental checkups at least every 6 months, regardless of if they are experiencing any of these symptoms. 

Bringing your kids for a checkup at South University Dental Associates is an important part of their overall health. Regular checkups lead to early detection of issues, so small concerns don’t turn into large, expensive problems. If you suspect that your child may be experiencing a cavity or other dental issue, don’t put off seeking care. Schedule an appointment with one of our kid-friendly dentists, and they will ensure that your kid gets the dental care they need. Talk to us today to schedule your appointment.