Your child’s teeth 101

“Everything is genetic,” said Dr. Daniel Klein, who is affiliated with the UCLA School of Dentistry.

While our genes are outside of our control, a lot of dental issues are “preventable,” and obtaining proper information will “help prevent a lot of big issues.”

It’s time to shed some light on a supposed common cause of cavities. “Brushing and flossing is not as important as people think,” Klein said. While “It is important to some extent…in terms of dental disease, there are a lot of other factors.”

What causes cavities?

Myth: Candy

Fact: “Every time we have anything with carbohydrates, there is bacteria in our mouths that breaks down those ‘carbs’ into acid.”

To clarify further:

  • Acid sits on everybody’s teeth
  • It starts making holes
  • Within 45 minutes, saliva starts to mineralize the acid
  • The body heals itself

In summary: “Teeth are always having holes being made; holes being fixed.”

Did you know that how often you eat impacts your dental health?

“The more frequent snackers may not give their teeth enough time to heal. That can theoretically lead to more cavities. You’ll be behind the 8-ball; never able to catch up.”

The answer is not eliminating carbs. “It’s more about the frequency of the carbs.”

“What is healthy for your teeth, may not be healthy for your body.”

Klein’s example:

“If someone pounds [down] a bag of sugar in one sitting, it is terrible for your body but it’s not horrible for your teeth. Your saliva will re-balance.”

“But if you take one sugar packet and put one granule on your tongue every 20 minutes, you’ll wind up getting a lot of cavities.”

What’s the proactive approach (no matter which example you choose)?

Drink water after eating, so we get teeth back in the hole-fixing process.”

Some foods that are more acidic are:

  • Pineapple
  • Mangos
  • Lemons
  • Grapes

Ones that have a lower PH are better for dessert, not as great for snacking, include:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Honeydew

What is the #1 cause of cavities in young children?

Undiagnosed underlying acid reflux

In Klein’s practice “80 to 90% of children in the past decade have had acid reflux,” with the majority of their guardians having no idea.

He shares interesting insight on acid reflux:

  • Could be a chronic illness
  • A child may grow out of it
  • May be a sign of a gluten/dairy sensitivity
  • There may be a link to the child having small airways

Knowing this, what is important in regards to dental health? To schedule regular visits for you and your children.

And to know that “Typically when teeth break down, it’s indicative that something is going on inside of the body (that’s not functioning properly).”

Start your child’s health life off to a good start by regular dental visits!

Dr. Daniel Klein has been practicing dentistry since 2011. He also serves as clinical faculty at UCLA School of Dentistry.


This website does not provide medical advice. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only.  Always seek the advice of a medical professional or other qualified health care provider on any health matter or question.






Have a health-related question?

Submit it here. I’ll ask an expert!

Join Healthier Bodies

You may opt out at any time. See Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Join Healthier Bodies

You may opt out at any time. See Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

You have Successfully Subscribed!