If your child has cavities but also works hard to brush the teeth twice daily, then you may wonder why decay has started to develop. Well, there are a number of reasons why cavities may develop, and the basic shape and structure of the teeth may have a lot to do with it. While this is true, there are some other biological factors that can cause some decay concerns. Poor saliva production is one of them. Keep reading to learn why this may cause cavity issues and what you can do to help your child:

Why Does Reduced Saliva Cause Cavities?

Saliva has several different functions. The fluid holds enzymes that break down food as you chew it, and the saliva also mixes with food items to make the food easier to swallow. As saliva moves around the mouth, it also washes the bits of food particles that cling to the teeth and gums. As the food is washed away, the bacteria have nothing to feed upon. Saliva also helps to maintain a consistent and more pH neutral environment in the mouth so that bacteria cannot multiply and thrive.

If your child does not produce as much saliva as he or she should, then bacteria can multiply, thrive, and feed on the bits of food that are not washed out of the mouth. Since bacteria can multiply quickly, the microorganisms can weaken the tooth enamel significantly in between brushing and flossing regimens. 

How Can The Saliva Issue Be Solved?

Your child may just naturally produce less saliva than other children. This may be due to the generally poor function of the salivary glands or the glands may not be receiving clear and strong signals from the brain that saliva needs to be produced. To help encourage salivary production, allow your child to chew sugar-free gum. Gum that contains the artificial sweetener xylitol has been linked to an increase in saliva. 

While your son or daughter's physiology may be the issue, your child may also breathe through the mouth more than they should. This can cause saliva to dry out before it can benefit the oral health of your child. A poor bite and the malformation of the jaw can contribute to mouth breathing issues. Also, a stuffed nose due to allergies, deviated septum problems, and small nasal cavities can cause these issues as well. Work with both a dentist like Brit E. Bowers, DDS and your pediatrician to see if an issue can be located. Braces and mouthguards that shift the jaw may be required or a minor surgery may need to be scheduled.