Dentist Questions Cavities

Can you be prone to getting cavities?

My 13 year old son seems to always have cavities. He eats pretty well, and doesn't overdo the sugar. So why does he get them so frequently? Could he be prone to them?

10 Answers

If your son seems to have cavities more than other children, the next time your son visits the dentist, ask his dentist to show your son how he should be flossing and brushing. Teenagers are going through a tough time. Besides doing home care instructions has your son had SEALANTS placed on his molars and premolars?

SEALANTS fill in the deep grooves of his back teeth so food and other debris CAN'T get into them. If you have dental insurance , sealants could be covered. Even if you don't have insurance, they save teeth.
Usually young patients have cavities between their teeth, they should floss along with brushing
Absolutely. Genetics can be involved.
Yes, too many sweets and cookies. Also sodas and any soft drink or juices that contain sugar. The amount of these foods can be over the limit for your son. Also, many people have "bad quality" or saliva or have inherited "soft" enamel.
If not having a perfect cleaning habit, makes it very liable to cavities.
Yes, some people have hypomineralization of their enamel, being more prone to tooth decay. Also reflux could predispose to increased cavities. Home care plays a large part in caries prevention. Brushing & flossing at night is critical, and more important than morning brushing.
Certainly. But he can help minimize the likelihood by using Act flouride rinse- if he is old enough. Before bedtime, after all eating and drinking, brush w/ toothpaste and rinse w/ water. They fill the bottlecap up to the line and swish for 1 minute. Then spit out and keep spitting out for 1 minute. DO NOT RINSE. Go to bed. Do this 3 times per week.
Brushing technique, flossing technique, and snacking patterns play a large role in this. However, some individuals are prone to cavities due to inheritance of familial structures and oral bacteria.
Cavities seldom just happen for no reason. Identifying the cause is essential to prevention of future problems. Cavities typically come from two sources. Have your son's back teeth sealed by a dentist and that will eliminate the first cause. The second cause is more important and also complicated to explain. Basically any carbohydrate is sugar and will include all dairy products, grains, fruits and starches. What isn't included are nuts, vegetables, meat, fish and eggs. You can eat carbohydrates three or four times daily but no more because carbohydrates interfere with nature's natural ability to heal our teeth. The key to remember is that the frequency NOT the amount of carbohydrate is what is important. Snack on nuts and veggies between meals, and incorporate all other foods into the main meals. This will prevent most of the cavities that I see.
There's a big difference between the effectiveness of brushing as witnessed by a dentist or hygienist compared to that of a parent. Next time you're in the dentist office ask them to provide you with a video of proper brushing technique and sit with the patient while they watch it and discuss the differences you see as far as the effectiveness shown. Most likely some supervision is all that's needed to control bacteria which is the cause and then you should start getting good check-ups providing no secret sugar is being used while it's cool that you don't know about without brushing between meals.
If diet is not a factor, I would first be sure that good oral hygiene is practiced. Brush twice daily, especially before bed, and use dental floss once daily. Yes, some people are prone to cavities. Genetics play a part in the resistance of teeth to decay, and family history influences the bacterial population in the mouth that can produce more cavities.

Dr. Al Schmitt