Cavities in Young Children: Social-Economic Factors


Cavities in young children are frequently the result of social-economic factors being the root cause. A very recent study appearing July 14, 2017 in the Journal of dental Research compared the following:

Indigenous North American populations compared to non-indigenous in relations to early childhood caries (Cavities in young children), sometimes referred to as “baby bottle decay”

The following was found:

  1. Indigenous children spent more time using a bottle and earlier weaning from breast feeding (if breast fed at all) compared to the non-indigenous.
  2. Less tooth brushing.
  3. Significantly less household income.

As a result of the above, the indigenous young children had much, much greater percentage of bacteria that result in decay, up to 23% compared to 5% of the non-indigenous. Conversely, it was found that indigenous children did not have any “good bacteria” that is bacteria associated with less caries compared to up to 2% on the non-indigenous.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and Canadian Pediatric Society states the following: Much of this discrepancy stems from the historical and ongoing effects of colonialism and racism that have resulted in major socioeconomic and health care inequities.

The take-away lesson from this is that there are some very basic things that need to be done in order to prevent dental decay. Simple things such as brushing regularly and proper oral care can help reduce cavities. If there is something that is preventing these from being done, no matter what it is, there is a higher likelihood of increased cavities in your child. For more information on preventing cavities, read our prevention information page.