By Holly Lebowitz Rossi

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While cavities are on the decline in the general population, they are a fact of life for increasing numbers of young children, according to the Centers for Disease Control. They affect 10 percent of 2-year-olds and over half of 5-year-olds, causing everything from minor toothaches to missed school days to complications that require major surgery. But dentists say few people realize that cavities are symptoms of dental caries, the most common chronic disease in children today, according to the CDC.

Caries is caused by a transmissible bacteria that produces acids in the mouth when we eat anything with carbohydrates, including sugary or starchy foods. Those acids dissolve the teeth, and without good oral health practices, they can lead to tooth decay - cavities. But cavities are preventable if the underlying caries is managed.

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(image via: http://box4kids.blogspot.com)

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