Dentist Questions Tooth Decay

Why are my 5 year old son's teeth rotting?

My son is 5 years old. He doesn't eat excessive sugar, and we practice healthy oral hygiene with brushing and flossing. I know they are only his baby teeth, but why are his teeth rotting? I am not sure what we are doing wrong. Should I be concerned for as he gets his adult teeth?

19 Answers

You state: "He doesn't eat excessive sugar", but any sugar or sugar drink will cause dental decay. Cut his sugar intake to a minimum.
Many things can cause rapid decay. Some of them are: dry mouth/mouth breathing, sweet liquids at bedtime, inadequate oral hygiene, and lack of fluoride in water as a baby. Even though the baby teeth will be replaced, they still play a major role in setting up the mouth for a healthy, uncrowded permanent dentition, so they should be maintained carefully and checked by a dentist yearly.
This is usually a case of juice bottle syndrome - always use water after a juice bottle
Generally a cavity is from one of two sources. Either sugar in the diet will feed the bacteria which then produce acid, or direct acid reaching the teeth. Examples of this might be sucking on lemons or limes, patients who suffer (sometimes without any overt painful symptoms) from gastric reflux, etc. Regarding your child you first need to review any sources of sugar in his diet. Soda, juices (huge source of sugar!), kool aids, etc. You have stated he doesn't eat sugar. Does he drink it? If no, is it possible he might be experiencing gastric reflux while sleeping? I would expect the back teeth to show more effects than the front ones. Discuss with his pediatrician or his dentist. Find the reason so you can properly manage his health.
Probably he is drinking something with a sugar in it. Maybe at bedtime and constantly sipping it. Fruit juice, milk, can also cause decay.
Losing primary teeth early is a problem, you do need to be concerned. The problem should be identified and resolved before his permanent teeth start erupting. System fluoride may help his permanent teeth become more decay resistant. Carefully identify anything harmful in his diet. Acids, sodas, and starchy sugar are particularly bad. See a children's dentist or go to your local dental school for thorough evaluation.
There can be various reasons for kids to get decay/ rotten teeth. Frequently snacking is one of them. Please see your general dentist for Comprehensive evaluation
Many things can cause this condition. Your son may have a congenital (inherited)
condition or he may have weak teeth. It's possible that you may not be brushing his teeth as well as you think. Milk bottles at night could also be a culprit. See your local dentist so he can be assessed correctly. Normally the decay in primary teeth doesn't effect the permanent teeth but this still needs to be addressed.
Baby teeth are incredibly important especially for holding the space for the adult teeth underneath them so you should definitely do your best to keep them healthy. In addition, rotting teeth can lead to abscessed teeth which can lead to even more problems for your child, his baby teeth, and his developing adult teeth. The best way to figure out why his teeth are rotting is to see a dentist so they can assess things. Often diet is the main factor - this could include "non-sugary" things such as carbohydrates (ex. chips, crackers) which turn into sugar, or "healthy sugars" such as fruit juice or milk. It could also be insufficient fluoride, weaker teeth due to issues during development, etc. It's important to have someone look at his teeth to figure out what the problem is and then you can figure out how to solve it. Good luck!
Early Childhood Caries (ECC) can happen even with good oral hygiene. Most of the time the permanent teeth will come in nice and healthy. Be sure your son is getting optimal fluoride to strengthen developing adult teeth
Well if you are putting him to bed with a bottle or sippy cup in his crib this sugar exposure can be leading to decay. He should be going to the dentist every six months to have the teeth checked and to get fluoride treatments that will help the teeth fight against cavities. It can affect the developing permanent teeth so it is important to have it addressed. Kids can start going to the dentist starting at one year old. So set up an appointment to have him looked at as soon as you can.
Could just be the quality of his enamel...many factors can cause tooth decay!
Get your son an appointment to see your hygienist. They are highly skilled at controlling both gum problems and decay. Premature loss of primary teeth, will cause Orthodontic problems.
There are several factors that can lead to this. Some are systemic. However, the most common cause of this is letting your child sleep with a bottle at an early age and allowing them to drink juices and sodas frequently. I would recommend to re-evaluate diet and snacking patterns. Additionally, at this age, I would continue to aid your child with brushing and flossing. The concern with adult teeth would be developmentally if the child is in pain or abscessed or also if the activity of the cavities has not decreased by the time the child’s adult teeth begin to erupt.
Did he used to go to bed with a bottle? The night time brushing is the most important one. Also make sure he is brushing with fluoridated toothpaste.
What's important to remember is the FREQUENCY that he's getting the sugar. Even if he only has 1 cup of apple juice per day but he's sipping on it all day, that's worse than having 3 cups at mealtime. When you eat something sugary the pH in your mouth drops to below normal (more acidic) for about 30 minutes, so if you are constantly sipping, your body never has a chance to return to normal pH. Also, if he's going to bed with a sippy cup of something sugary that would be just letting his teeth bathe in the sugar all night long which is a recipe for rot.
Hi there,
Rotting of teeth could be due to various reasons. Like snacking habits, diet composition, frequency of snacking, brushing techniques, frequeny of brushing. To see exactly what could be the reason and how could you fix it. I would highly recommend to see a dentist because Baby teeth are very important to maintain the space for permanent teeth.
I hope this helps.
Dr. Jatinder Sharma DDS
My patients do not get cavities because I spend significant amount of time explaining the causes of cavities. Most misunderstand is exactly what constitutes 'sugar' and how sugar causes damage. The answer is not simple to describe in a written text, but I will try. There are two key points to remember. First the amount of sugar is not as important as the frequency that it is ingested. In other words it is snacking between meals that is most important. Second all carbohydrates are nothing more than sugar chains and are broken down into simple sugar on contact with saliva. Carbohydrates include all dairy products, all grains, all fruit and all starches. What it doesn't include are vegetables, nuts, meat, fish and eggs. So do this: Let your child only eat nuts and veggies between meals, and then at meal time let him eat as much carbohydrate as desired. Your child can even eat candy as a desert so long as he does not consume any carbohydrates between meals. This works.
Sometimes its not only the food choices, but timing of choices. These can include drinks as well. We tell adults not to sip on soda and energy drinks. We tell kids the same thing. Milk should be made available at meals only. Juice has no nutritional value and should be given sparingly if at all. My kids are constantly thirsty, so we keep a sippy cup in the fridge with water that they are free to use whenever they wish. The other issue is fluoride. Sometimes kids won't use the normal toothpastes because of taste or whatever. We need to make sure that the toothpaste has fluoride in it. At five years old, we let the kids brush themselves and then we go back and take our turn as well twice a day. Any issues or questions with their dental health should be directed to the dentist. The first professional cleaning usually happens around 3 years old.