As a parent, you want your child to stay as healthy as possible. Getting a cavity can be a scary experience, but we promise you don’t have to worry! We are here to guide you through how Children’s Dental Center takes care of them and help you understand how they form to protect your child from getting them. Our team of incredible dentists, Dr. Rowland, Dr. Selecman, Dr. Daniel, Dr. Greene, and Dr. Church, are experts in children’s dental care.

What is a Cavity?

Cavities are holes in teeth typically caused by decay. This is a very common complication in children, but don’t worry! It is also very well-researched and easily treatable by our expert dentists. Seeking prompt care can make all the difference in caring for a cavity later on. The earlier you or your child recognize signs of one developing, the better as if they are left untreated, they will worsen and begin eating away at their tooth. 

How Do They Form?

Good bacteria naturally live in your child’s mouth and work to keep their oral health in check. However, harmful bacteria can also form due to small pieces of food getting stuck between teeth or from overeating sugar. This creates a sticky, colorless coat over their teeth, known as plaque. 

Both oral bacteria and plaque buildup can be caused by not brushing often or improper technique. If it is not brushed off efficiently, it turns to acid. Too much acid can break down your child’s tooth enamel, exposing their tooth to harm and quickly leading to decay.

Several risk factors can contribute to your child developing a cavity, including poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, lack of fluoride, food choices, and more. Another cause can be simply due to genetics. If a parent suffered from cavities as a child, their child may be more likely to suffer from them as well. Of course, there are ways to prevent and lower their chances of getting one, which we will discuss later.

Signs Your Child Has One

Black Spots and Discoloration

One of the most recognizable visual signs of a cavity is black dots on teeth. Some types of discoloration are natural due to eating and drinking darker foods or liquids. They typically start as white or yellow dots. However, when they darken and turn different colors, decay is likely present and will worsen if left untreated. Please let us know of any signs of discoloration during scheduled appointments so our doctors can monitor it over time.

Sensitivity to Certain Foods or Drinks

Tooth enamel protects your child’s teeth from temperature sensitivity when consuming hot or cold foods. It acts as a shield for the tooth over an otherwise porous surface. If they start mentioning a painful sensation in certain teeth when eating them, they may have a cavity due to the hot or cold temperatures reaching the nerve. Sugary foods can also cause toothache sensation, so eating them in moderation is key.


Another visual sign of a cavity is pitting or a hole in the tooth. White spots are the first clue that pitting is coming. Holes are apparent when they form on top of the tooth, leaving a dark gap behind and causing pain while chewing.

However, they can also form between teeth, making them much more challenging to notice. Not all pits indicate cavities, but they should still be checked out by your dentist as soon as you see them to avoid more severe issues.

Does My Child Have a Cavity?

What Can Be Done to Treat It?

The treatment undergone to rid your child of their cavity depends on their age and the severity of the issue. If they have a cavity with minor tooth decay that hasn’t reached so far down the tooth, we can remove the decayed section of the tooth and fill it with a tooth-colored composite material. This can last for years with proper oral hygiene and will allow them to maintain the aesthetics of their smile.

If your child’s cavity has more severe decay and is unable to be repaired, their tooth may additionally require a crown. This more extensive filling covers and strengthens the tooth’s enamel from further damage. Sometimes, their tooth may need to be removed and replaced, though our team will discuss other treatment choices before resorting to this.

Preventing Future Cavities

Proper Oral Health Routines

Teaching your child the significance of their oral hygiene can go a long way. The earlier these habits are instilled, the healthier their teeth can be as they grow up. The simple step of brushing their teeth twice daily and flossing at night prevents many common complications. 

Attend Regular Dental Check-Ups

As mentioned, one of the best ways to ensure your child’s teeth stay cavity-free is by coming in for biannual dental check-ups. These appointments allow our dental team to track your child’s teeth, monitor potential issues, and step in early when treatment is necessary. Children’s Dental Center can resolve common complications such as cavities, tooth decay, enamel breakdown, provide baby crowns, and much more to keep their oral health in perfect condition.

Drinking Water

Did you know one of the best natural ways to clean your teeth throughout the day is drinking water? Water naturally contains a mineral called fluoride, which prevents tooth decay and eliminates harmful bacteria in your mouth. Drinking it during the day even dilutes the acids created in your mouth from sugary foods, preventing cavities. Keeping a bottle for you and your child during the day will strengthen their teeth and benefit their general health. 

Does My Child Have a Cavity?

Protect Your Child’s Oral Health!

After learning more about how cavities can occur, we hope you and your child feel more prepared to prevent them! The Children’s Dental Center is just a call away for your family to rely on as a resource whenever you have questions or concerns about your child’s oral health. If you believe your child has a cavity or is dealing with another complication, you can request an appointment at our Midtown, Collierville, and Arlington practices. Our team can’t wait to meet you!