Do cavities affect children differently than adults?

Age can be a factor that increases risk for cavities. As you get older, existing fillings break down requiring recurrent restoration. In addition, the strength of your enamel may decrease through tooth wear and your gums may recede, increasing the risk for developing cavities in the crown of the tooth and root, respectively. Despite the success of fluoride, cavities are common in children and they progress throughout life.

A cavity is a hole in the tooth. From that standpoint it is the same disease.

It is the consequences that can differ.

In a child, the adult tooth is usually under the baby tooth. The cavity doesn't know to stop at the baby tooth.
  • If the baby tooth gets infected it can destroy the permanent tooth
  • Baby teeth act as "space holders" It holds the space so the permanent tooth can erupt into that space. If lost, the space may get closed up and the permanent tooth won't fit in.
  • The younger you are, the longer your teeth need to last.
In both adults and children, it can lead to tooth loss, loss of self-esteem, and inability to get proper nutrition.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.