Child Cavity

Dr. Phillips,

I can’t figure out how to send a question to you through your blog, so I am trying email. My daughter is barely 5 years old, and despite ‘good’ dental care, has 3 small cavities in between her back teeth (since her last xray last year). I don’t like the thought of her having a silver filling, and am hoping that there is an alternative to the fillings all together. She is TERRIFIED of a procedure in which causes her pain (which we have learned from 2 previous trips to the ER) and she becomes uncontrollable (recently having to be put under to remove a bead from her ear). I am afraid that when she gets the shot for the cavity, she will flip out and they wont be able to work on her anyway.

Is there anything that can be done to ‘reverse’ the tooth damage and avoid a filling? What ‘treatment’ would you recommend for a 5 year old, if something can be done
Thanks for your help,


Hi C,

I understand your concern I am concerned about treatments for kids and adults which is why I do what I do!!

The best way to stop a cavity is to get rid of cavity bacteria. Cavity bacteria are in saliva the liquids in your mouth. You and she share this same infection so you both need to do this “treatment”

In fact, if she is at day-care or with other people you may want to tell them and help them learn how to “clean” their own mouths.

All you need is five separate exposures to xylitol each day. More is better but at least five times a day!!

Xylitol is described in detail on my website but for a five year old you have a lot of options. Most kids love our fruity mints but some like the gum flavors also.

Try to have a piece of gum or a mint after every meal, snack or drink maybe five or more times a day.

In addition you can get granular xylitol and make this into a little drink by adding it to a bottle of water before nap time or at day care etc ( to protect her teeth from infection). Most health stores sell granular xylitol so you can start right away!

For cleaning teeth:

At her age I would suggest a tiny amount of Crest Cavity Protection paste on a clean toothbrush (see instructions for cleaning a toothbrush).

Help her learn to rinse with ACT mouth rinse. Kids generally like the bubblegum flavor (sold in Target, Walmart, Walgreens etc).

Some kids like the mint flavor either is fine.

You will have to supervise the rinsing and make sure she does not drink the rinse. I recommend using a small dixie cup of water and add a couple of drops of the rinse at first.

Check she can rinse and spit.

When you get confident add more ACT to the water less water until she is at full strength. The combination of rinsing with xylitol can REVERSE these cavities if they are not too deep.

I cannot advise you exactly but what do you have to lose? Get plenty of xylitol and use ACT twice a day  helping your daughter learn to rinse and spit out the rinse.

Give these teeth a couple of months and then ask the dentist if he would make sure the cavities are not worse.

If they are holding steady you may be able to reverse them in about 6 months.


The work you do will ensure a better dental lifetime for your daughter. Fillings are not the answer to these problems Fillings are a treatment for damage not a solution for your child’s dental future.

Good luck and best wishes,

Ellie Phillips DDS
Solutions for Oral Health!
author, Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye

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