Why Does My Child Still Have Cavities?

I have had several parents over the last couple of years express the same frustration. Essentially they are frustrated by the fact that their children continue to get cavities despite their best efforts at prevention. Basically, decay is a nutritional disorder. One of the best articles describing the process was published in the Journal of General Dentistry by Dr. Ken Southward in the September/October 2011 issue, titled: The Systemic Theory of Dental Caries (Citation in the Document Library under Nutrition in Dentistry). It basically confirmed the findings of Dr. Weston Price and chronicled in his classic text Nutrition and Physical Degeneration first published in 1943 and in continuous print ever since. One of the frustrations of many parents is that their children continue to get cavities despite following what they feel is the Weston Price diet. The solution to the decay problem lies with diet and nutrition. Diet is a complex topic. Under ideal dietary conditions we get the nutrients we need to grow healthy tissues. Sadly, today’s food choices are difficult. A factory farm raised chicken does not nearly have the nutritional value as a free range ones we pick up at Sonset Farms, a small producer close to where we live. The chickens we get there are excellent and make a high quality broth. Sue even throws in the feet. The same can be said for every food choice, like eggs. You need to educate yourself on the quality of food you are buying. Your local Weston A. Price Chapter can help with helping you to source local foods. Look for a local chapter on line and get involved. The knowledge base in the membership of these organizations is truly amazing and you can usually connect with folks who are having similar issues. As a biological dentist I feel that the best dentistry is no dentistry. If I can educate patients or provide the resources to help them prevent dental problems that is the way to go.The benefits extend beyond preventing cavities to proper development of the the face and jaws, preventing orthodontic problems among many others.

So what do you do if your child is diagnosed with cavities? Well, it obviously is a wake up call to examine your child’s diet. Decay is a process. It can be active or inactive. To determine whether it is active or inactive you need reliable records that measure what is going on at two points in time. Xrays have been the traditional methods of assessment but a new technology using a non-invasive laser called the Canary System (www.thecanarysystem.com) has been shown to be more accurate than Xrays in detecting and monitoring decay. If early decay is detected preventative methods can be used to help reverse the process. Ideally, following many of the dietary principles of Weston Price is best but there are oral hygiene methods and topical solutions that can help. We like SHEC’s cavity guard (www.Shecs.com) that contains iodine versus fluoride. If teeth need to be restored with fillings we use a very non-invasive laser (www.lightwalkerlaser.com) to remove just the damaged tooth structure. Often the use of ‘freezing’ or local anesthetic is unnecessary. Other advantages of the laser is disinfection of the cavity and micro-etching of the tooth structure so the filling sticks really well. We will often use ozone to disinfect the cavity as well (www.oxygenhealingtherapies.com).

Diet is only part of the story. A factor commonly overlooked is frequency of eating. Every time you consume something it creates an environment that makes teeth more susceptible to decay, especially simple carbohydrates which negatively impact the ability of the tooth to self clean as per the mechanism described by Dr Southward. I commonly see children be given snacks frequently throughout the day which shuts down this mechanism and coupled with not cleaning the teeth and mouth creates an ideal environment for dental decay. So the message is to choose appropriate snacks and drinks and minimize or eliminate snacks between meals.

An excellent reference text is The Dental Diet by Dr. Steven Lin which can be found at:


In any event, the best dentistry is no dentistry. Our knowledgeable team is always available to answer any questions you have.

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