Cavities in Kids: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention


Cavities are one of the most common dental problems seen in most kids. Also known as tooth decay, cavities can critically damage your child’s teeth if not treated. There are several ways to reduce the risk of cavities in kids once you know the cause. As such, we have listed below everything you need to know about cavities; right from their causes and signs to available treatment for cavities and ways to prevent cavities in kids.

A] Causes of Cavities in Kids

They are a lot of factors that can put your kid at an increased risk of cavities. Cavities occur due to the build-up of dental plaque – a sticky substance formed by the bacteria present in the mouth – which covers the teeth and creates tiny holes over time.

  • Improper and irregular brushing is a major cause of tooth decay in kids. Many children simply do not know the proper way of brushing or do not follow the thumb rule of brushing twice a day for at least two minutes.
  • Not only brushing, but diet also plays an important role in tooth decay. Most kids who eat a lot of candies, starchy foods or consume a large amount of sugary drinks are at a higher risk of developing cavities.

To maintain healthy teeth and prevent cavities, you need to ensure that your kids brush their teeth daily – in the morning and before going to bed at night. Also, limit their intake of unhealthy food and ensure that their diet consists of healthy meals and snacks.

B] Signs and Symptoms of Cavities

Usually, small children are unable to convey their pain and discomfort. Also, tooth decay or cavities do not cause pain until they reach the inner pulp area of the tooth. As such, parents need to watch their children, especially if he or she is acting differently while eating and if they have frequent toothaches. Identifying cavities at an early stage will not only prevent tooth decay, but would also ensure that your child doesn’t have to go through root canal treatment or worse yet, tooth extraction.

Some of the common signs of cavities in toddlers are as follows:

  • Tooth sensitivity while consuming cold/hot food items
  • Black spots on their teeth
  • Swelling around the gums
  • Pit or holes and white spots on the teeth
  • Reluctance in eating
  • Pain in the face or jaw
  • Fatigue or lethargy

C] Treatment for Cavities in Kids

A child’s tooth decay treatment options would depend on the cause and the extent of the damage done to the teeth. Below are some of the common treatments for cavities in kids.

  • Dental Fillings: One of the most common questions parents ask is; ‘is it necessary to have cavities filled in baby teeth?’ The answer is yes, it is necessary. Dental fillings prevent the tooth from deteriorating further. It is the most common type of dental treatment for child tooth decay. During the procedure, the dentist clears the decay and fills the pit or hole with a filling made from a composite resin. The dental filling usually blends in with the colour of their natural teeth.
  • Tooth Extraction: When a baby tooth is severely decayed and damaged, the dentist may recommend a tooth extraction procedure. Tooth extraction is suggested when other treatments like a root canal or dental fillings are not enough to save the tooth. When the tooth is extracted, a gap opener along with a space maintainer will help the permanent teeth to grow without any complications. Also, to lessen the pain of tooth extraction, the dentist will numb the gum area with an injection before the procedure.
  • Stainless Steel Crowns: Dental crowns are made from a safe metal and is easy to clean. They are tooth-shaped caps that help in covering the entire teeth and safeguards the tooth from further decaying. When dental fillings are not enough to restore your child’s teeth, paediatric dental crowns are recommended. For this, a root canal may be done on the child’s tooth, and a stainless steel crown is placed on the teeth. These crowns help in preserving the baby’s teeth from further damage until they are naturally lost.
  • Pulpotomy: When the decay reaches the inner pulp area of the tooth, a pulpotomy may be needed. A pulpotomy is similar to a root canal but is only performed on children. It involves removing a small part of the inner pulp and replacing it with a material that can be absorbed by the body. It is performed on primary teeth & molars and also known as the ‘baby root canal.’
  • Fluoride Treatments: Fluoride is an extremely important mineral that helps to strengthen your tooth enamel. Fluoride varnish treatment helps prevent the process of decay. It is a safe treatment where only a small amount of fluoride is used that quickly hardens when applied. Post the application, it is brushed off after 4 hours. While it is an excellent way to prevent cavities in kids, for best results, it is important to maintain dental hygiene through regular brushing, flossing, periodic visit to the dentist, and a healthy diet.

Further reading: Best And Worst Foods For Your Teeth

D] What Can You Do To Prevent Cavities in Kids?

  1. Routine Dental Check-ups: Kids should have their first dental check-up on their first birthday or when they get their first tooth. Visiting the dentist every 6 months will help detect tooth decay or cavities at the earliest and appropriate treatments can be used to prevent further damage. Some parents may believe that the baby’s teeth will soon be replaced by permanent teeth, so there is no need for a routine check-up. However, it is important to note that a strong foundation is necessary for the teeth to grow well.
  2. Practise Good Oral Hygiene Habits: Even before your child’s teeth start to show, you can begin by cleaning their gums with a soft, damp washcloth. This will help eliminate bacteria. Supervise your kids while they brush their teeth until they reach the age of 7 to 8. This will ensure that they don’t rush through the routine. You can also use a timer to ensure your child brushes his/her teeth for full two minutes.

Further reading: Dental Hygiene For Kids: Ways To Protect Your Child’s Teeth

  1. Use Fluoride-rich Toothpaste: Fluoride toothpaste prevents cavities in kids, strengthens tooth enamel, and limits the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth. Regular use of fluoride-rich toothpaste can help harden the enamel, preventing acids from penetrating it. However, note, too much use of fluoride can cause discolouration of teeth, and if swallowed in large quantities, it can lead to stomach upset.
  2. Avoiding Sugary Foods: Sweet sticky candies, toffees, chips, sugary food & juices are harmful as they stick to the teeth and erode the enamel, which causes cavities. When your kids eat these foods, make sure to rinse their mouth afterwards. This will help dislodge the food particles trapped in between the teeth. Having a healthy diet, as mentioned above, is not only important for your kids’ dental health but can also improve their overall general health.

We are family dental practice clinic in Sunshine Coast. So, contact us today to schedule a dental check-up right away!

Leave comment

10/7 Nicklin Way

Minyama QLD 4575, Australia

Opening Hours

Mon - Fri: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Book Appointment

(07) 5444 4308 & 1300 70 60 90

Send Us An Email

Adarsh (Principal Dentist)


Adarsh (A-Dash) is the principal dentist at Oris Dental. Adarsh graduated as a dentist in 1996 from the University of Mumbai (Bombay, India). He entered private practice as an assistant dentist in one of the leading practices in Mumbai from 1996-2002. The practice offered all aspects of dentistry with the exception of Orthodontics. This prompted Adarsh to pursue a post graduate degree in Orthodontics and successfully completed the 3 year Full time the master’s program from University of Mumbai (Bombay, India) in 2005. Since then, Adarsh has been in private practice both as a general dentist and an orthodontist. He also served as teaching faculty at University in Mumbai for 3 yrs and when in India, he has been ‘the dentist’ to many dentists!! In 2008, Adarsh took the Australian Dental Council exam for direct recognition of his skill in Australia. He successfully completed the exams in the first attempt and moved to Australia early 2009. He has been in private practice in Australia since Jan 2009. Oris Dental was set up in Minyama in 2011. Oris Dental is now over 8 years old and is growing to be a well-respected practice in the area. He is particularly interested in Cosmetic dentistry Dental implants and Orthodontics. Adarsh hopes to use all the experience he has gained in the past 22 years, to offer the best in dentistry to all his patients in this practice. Adarsh believes in spreading smiles and has successfully designed smiles and in doing so improved the lives and self-confidence of many Sunshine Coast locals (Take a look at our Smile gallery!). Adarsh is an active member of the Australian Dental Association since 2009 He held the post of Senior Lecturer in Orthodontics in Mumbai University before moving to Australia. He is a Life member of the Indian Dental Association, serving as the General Secretary of the Association (Mumbai City Chapter) 2007-2009 He is Life member of the Indian Orthodontic Society. He is Candidate for Membership Examination MRACDS (Ortho) and plans to complete his membership exams soon. Adarsh is also currently pursuing his Diploma in Implant dentistry at the Royal College of Surgeons(Edinburgh). Adarsh has recently complete intensive training in implant placement and restoration in Neoss and TRI (Swiss) Implant system. He is married to Prachi for 15yrs and they have a 11 yr old son – Aarjav, a little daughter Aria who has just started prep and Daisy the mad Lab pup! He is currently learning to play Tennis and Badminton and loves watching the cricket!

Prachi (Owner/ Dentist)


Prachi is the director, part time dentist at Oris Dental. Prachi graduated in 2002 from Nair hospital dental college, Mumbai (Bombay, India), one of the leading dental schools in Asia. She then worked in multiple private practices across Mumbai (Bombay, India). While working as a dentist in various practices she picked up the positives from them and implemented them into this practice at Oris Dental. She is very friendly by nature and is particularly good at handling children, preventive dentistry and hygiene. Prachi moved to Australia in 2009. Prachi has there on completed her Australian Dental council exams successfully in early 2011 and is now ready to bring in her 12 years of experience to Oris Dental. Prachi also serves as a part time dentist at the Oral Health Services Sunshine Coast in Caloundra Kawana and Nambour as needed.

Davina (Dentist)


Davina has been a part of our family since 2014. After completing her bachelor’s degree from the University of Queensland, Davina has been in private practice in an around the Sunshine coast for a year before joining us full time. Davina shows exemplary skills in building a great relationship and rapport with her patients and is well regarded by her peers. Davina is very highly regarded by her current patients. Davina currently works 3 days a week.

Lise Slack (Dental Hygienist)

Lise Stack

Our dental hygienist Lise Slack is a trained member of the dental team who works together with your dentist in preventing gum diseases and dental decay.

Lise joined OrisDental in 2015 and has worked extensively in private specialist practices. She graduated from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa in 1982 and has had specific training and exposure to an extensive range of periodontal conditions and treatment modalities.

Lise’s dad was a professor in dentistry and this is where her love of teeth comes from. She has invented two specialist oral care products which are available in Australia and several international countries. Lise has also lectured at international dental conferences on the maintenance of dental implants and how to help patients care for their teeth once they have contracted periodontitis.

Both adults and children can benefit from having an appointment with a dental hygienist as they are taught how dental diseases occur and how it can be prevented or managed.

Lise is married to Sam and they have two daughters. They value their family time and love adventurous outdoor sports.

Jesse (Dental Assistant)

Jesse (Dental Assistant)

Jess has been a part of Oris Dental from the outset in 2011. Always cheerful and welcoming Jess is the star amongst our patients at our practice. If you cannot find Jess in the practice she will be at the beach!


Kaela (Receptionist)

Debra (Receptionist)

Kaela arrived at our practice in early 2021. Coming from eight years of retail experience in Northern NSW, she loves working with people and assisting in any way she can. Kaela has also just finished her training as a dental assistant. You will immediately fall in love with her happy, bubbly personality.

Abby (Sr. Dental Assistant)

Abby (Dental Assistant)

Abby is originally from Hervey Bay, but she has been calling the Sunshine Coast home with her husband and two kids for the past four and a half years. Abby completed her cert III in dental assisting in 2015 and is looking to further her studies In the near future. Abby enjoys camping, playing guitar, and travelling
the world with her family.

Request An Appointment

    Dr. Param Dass

    Dr. Param Dass

    Param Dass graduated with a Bachelor in Dentistry from the University of Otago, NZ in 2005. He went on to complete his Bachelor in Medicine from the University of Auckland NZ in 2010.

    Param started working part time in our practice since 2015 with special interest in surgical procedures including Dental implants and bone grafting procedures, Surgical extractions including Wisdom teeth and other minor surgical procedures.

    Param is well known for being gentle and caring in treating patients with dental anxiety and maintains a calm demeanour.

    He is also well trained in working with patients with various levels of anxiety, offering dental treatment under Happy Gas, Twilight sedation or under Full general anaesthetic.

    Dr. Brayden Fracchia

    Dr. Brayden Fracchia

    Brayden hails from North Queensland, having completed his Bachelor of Dental Surgery at JCU Cairns, practicing in Hobart and outreach dentistry from Mount Isa over the course of his studies. He has worked with us since 2020. Brayden enjoys becoming a part of a community and enjoys the outdoors and sport in his spare
    time. Having only recently moved to the beautiful Sunshine Coast, Brayden is enthusiastic and well versed in all aspects of basic general dentistry and looks forward to bringing North Queensland hospitality to the South East.



    Briar stated off as a trainee dental assistant in our practice mid-2020. She is the youngest member of our practice and is rapidly becoming an integral part of team Oris. Briar completed her Certificate 3 in our practice in 2021 and works full time Dental assistant at Oris Dental.



    Drew is Oris Dental’ newest member, who has only recently moved from his hometown of Rockhampton. He is our Oral Health Therapist, who specializes in oral health education, general check-ups, fillings and more!
    He loves a good chat and a laugh at work. He prioritizes patient’s comfort and likes to encourage an environment where everyone feels a sense of security and safety in the dental setting. When Drew isn’t at work you’ll find him having a refreshing swim at the beach or having his usual dirty chai at his local cafe.



    Jasmine joined our practice in November 2021 and works with our Oral Health Therapist Drew. Jasmine is new to dental assistance, however is quickly taking on any and all challenges that come her way! She loves animals, and spending quality time with her husband and two kids. Welcome to the team!



    Brooke is originally from Brisbane but has been living on the coast since 2017. She brings over 15 years of experience in the dental industry and has had the opportunity to work in London and Melbourne for the Royal Flying Doctors. Brooke enjoys surfing, scuba diving and exploring the many things that the Sunny Coast has to offer.