Cavities (Caries) Tooth decay (caries) is a progressive disease that often begins in very young children. Bacteria that normally live in the mouth react with sugars from foods and drinks to create acid that slowly eats away at the enamel of your child’s teeth and can also damage sensitive gum tissue. With the loss of enamel, weak points in the teeth form. These weak areas become cavities– which left alone can lead to irreversible nerve damage and the necessary early extraction of your child’s tooth. Again, early treatment is the key. As soon as a cavity is identified, your pediatric dentist can repair the tooth using tooth-colored fillings. If the cavity is too deep, a pulpotomy nerve treatment and stainless steel crown or extraction of the tooth may be needed. Effective brushing and flossing, the proper use of fluoride, and a balanced diet can help minimize the amount of decay to help your child have a happy, cavity-free smile!