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How to Use Diet to Prevent Kid’s Cavities

child cavity

By: Jennifer Lance,

Every time we go to the pediatric dentist, I worry he will find a cavity in my son’s mouth. My son was riddled with early childhood caries as a toddler, and he has had one cavity since. The patch within his heart makes dental work particularly worrisome, and I have read of other congenital heart parents restricting their children’s sugar intake to prevent cavities. Thankfully, sugar is not to blame for children’s cavities.

Sugar causes cavities…right? WRONG! According to pediatric dentist Dr. Roger W. Lucas, DDS, parents should be more concerned about carbohydrates than sugar for dental health. In his book More Chocolate, No Cavities: How Diet Can Keep Your Kid Cavity-Free, Dr. Lucas clearly explains the link between carbohydrates that stick to the teeth and cavities.


1. Children lose all of the baby teeth at age 6.
2. Cavities are caused by genetics or “weak enamel.”
3. If your child never has candy, soda, or juice, and get their teeth brushed for 4 minutes a day, they won’t get any cavities.

Why are some kids and adults more prone to cavities than others? Genetics and weak enamel only account for 1 to 3 percent of tooth decay.

The statistics are quite staggering that 60% of children under the age of 5 have cavities. Toothbrushing, flossing, and fluoride cannot work alone to prevent decay. According to Dr. Lucas, 95-100% of cavities are preventable with dietary changes!


Bacteria causes tooth decay. It’s a disease process called caries. Dr. Lucas in More Chocolate, No Cavities explains:

1. Bacteria live in the mouth and grow on teeth
2. Mouth bacteria break down simple carbohydrates into lactic acid as part of digestion
3. If enough lactic acid sits on a tooth for long enough, it dissolves part of the tooth and forms a hole in the tooth.

Bottom line: Sugar does not cause tooth decay. Carbohydrates do.

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