Cavities in Kids :: Expert Advice

We are excited that our partners at Oak Mountain Pediatric Dentistry are accepting new patients! This is sponsored content, but we only bring you businesses we really do love!

My 3-year-old recently had a cavity, and I was shocked by how much it bothered me. I thought I was doing everything right – dental visits from a year old, brushing, avoiding a steady stream of sugar. It turned out that this cavity was in an area pretty much impossible to prevent (He has a fused tooth, and this cavity was on the back where the two teeth meet; it’s complicated.), but it forced me to up my game in the dental department. As a parent, I have a responsibility to help my children lead healthy lives, and preventing tooth decay is a big part of that.

I knew it was unfortunate to see a cavity in a 3-year-old and that treatment was necessary, but I’m no expert. I asked Dr. Jeff Flannery to help us moms understand.

Dr. Jeff on cavities in children

Baby teeth are a big deal in that it is not fun to live with tooth pain and or be in pain while eating. Baby teeth cavities tend to progress much faster since there is less enamel than permanent teeth. They also tend to abscess faster than most permanent teeth. The baby teeth hold space for the permanent teeth and preserve the needed bone to support the permanent teeth. If teeth are lost too soon, we can always treat that with space maintainers to hold the space for the permanent teeth but the best space maintainer is the tooth itself.

A lot of people who don’t care about the baby teeth don’t understand that kids do not lose all the baby teeth until about age 12. So when cavities occur in teeth at ages 1-5, these teeth must be treated. If they have decay in just the first two years, it’s not reasonable to think the cavities will stop and be ok for the next 7 years, etc.. When parents ignore cavities, the chances of being able to save the tooth goes down with time.


Here’s the thing: Preventing cavities in children isn’t just about brushing. There are other things we as parents can do to make sure our kids are set up for success.

We did a post with Dr. Jeff on foods to love and foods to limit, and it is full of great information! One tip he shared that we love is simply to do what you can to remove sticky foods from your child’s teeth. Raisins, gummies, etc. will adhere and increase the chances that a cavities will form. Thanks to this tip, I keep a spare toothbrush for each of my kids in the kitchen. They understand that a treat such as a bit of dark chocolate means an extra brushing, and they are ok with that. (Because, hi… chocolate!)

This is a great resource if you’re struggling to break sugar habits in your home.

What if your child experiences tooth decay?

There is great news! Dr. Jeff and his team love helping their patients regain a healthy smile! If crowns are needed, Oak Mountain Pediatric Dentistry uses the best available. In many cases, the new crowns look even prettier than the original teeth. 

After crowns on decayed teeth. So pretty!

I’ve had a crown on one of my front teeth since I was nine years old. I was goofing around at a cousin’s house, and a dumbell I lifted over my head fell on a bed, bounced up, and took out one of my front teeth. To say I’m thankful for dentists who are great at what they do would be an understatement. Dr. Jeff and his team understand the importance of quality crowns, so they are one of the few offices offering all white zirconia, esthetic crowns.

Have you taken your children to the dentist?

We love that we are given the opportunity to introduce you to our partners at Oak Mountain Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Jeff and his entire staff have huge hearts for children, and they take great pride in being able to help us parents understand how to care for those little teeth. They also want to see all children, insured or not. Here is what to expect at your child’s first visit.



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Jenny-Lyn was born in Decatur, grew up in Ohio, and moved to Birmingham as a teenager. Her favorite things about Birmingham include sweet tea, the use of Sir and Ma’am, and the way people offer friendly smiles while out and about. Oh, and the food. Jenny’s background is sales and marketing, each of which she enjoys putting to use behind the scenes with Birmingham Mom Collective. After getting married, Jenny moved from Birmingham to Minneapolis where she invites anyone interested to visit around August. She’s strongly connected to Birmingham through friends, family, and of course Birmingham Mom Collective. Jenny and her husband Soo-Young have two sons, Michael and Jonathan. She guesses she’s officially a boy mom, and that’s a pretty good thing to be in her book.