Dental Caries in Children

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Dental caries or cavities are also known as tooth decay. It is one of the most prevalent and widespread persistent diseases today, but these are also preventable.

When you eat certain foods, the bacteria on your teeth break them and produce acid that can seriously damage your tooth enamel. Foods that can cause bacteria when left on the teeth include carbohydrates, starch, and sugar such as milk, soda, cake, fruit juices, cereals, and bread. The combination of bacteria, food, acid, and saliva forms a plaque that sticks to the teeth and causes cavities over time.

All children have bacteria in their mouths, which means all are at risk for tooth decay. But kids who are drinking less water, have a diet that is high in sugar, and practices poor oral hygiene are more likely to get dental caries.

The symptoms of dental caries vary from one child to another. Sometimes, children and parents do not even know that their kids have it unless the dentists see it. When white spots begin to form on the teeth, it means that the enamel is starting to break down, and these may lead to the sensitivity of the teeth. More so, an early cavity appears when a light brown color is present. The hole becomes deeper when it changes its color to a darker shade of brown or black. Also, some children who have dental caries experience pain in the area around the tooth or sensitivity to some foods such as sweets and hot or cold drinks.

Tooth decay can be diagnosed by a dentist through a complete history of your child, examining the mouth, and dental x-rays.

Here are several ways to prevent tooth decay in children:

  • Start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears
  • Brush the teeth, gums, and tongue twice a day
  • For children under three years old, use only the size of a grain of rice toothpaste with fluoride. While for children three and up, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss daily at night, starting at age 2.
  • Proper oral hygiene practices such as cleaning the tooth and mouth should be done after consuming foods, liquids, medications that are high in carbohydrates and sugar.
  • Make sure your child eats nutritious food and maintains a well-balanced diet.
  • Limit snacks that are sticky and high in sugar.
  • Prevent transferring bacteria to your child’s mouth by not sharing your utensils when eating.
  • If your child uses a bottle at bedtime, make sure that it only has water because milk and juices can cause tooth decay when left in the mouth.
  • Ensure that the last thing on your child’s mouth before going to sleep is their toothbrush.
  • Encourage the use of a cup when your child turns one year old.
  • Schedule routine cleaning with your pediatric dentist every six months or twice a year

We, at Kidsmile, are passionately dedicated to providing quality dental care for your child. Our goal is to partner with you to help your child establish and achieve excellent oral health.

You can message us here or via our social media accounts for an initial consultation or in booking your appointment.

Sources:

https://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/ada-positions-policies-and-statements/statement-on-earlychildhood-caries

https://oralb.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/cavities-tooth-decay/what-are-dental-caries/

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/tooth-decay-caries-or-cavities-inchildren

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