Does your child struggle with tooth decay?
Does your child struggle with tooth decay? Every child is at risk of tooth decay. But the good news is that tooth decay is largely preventable. Knowing the causes will help you work to prevent them.
What is tooth decay in children?
Tooth decay is the breakdown, or destruction, of tooth enamel. Enamel is the hard outer surface of a tooth. Tooth decay can lead to cavities. These are holes in the teeth.
What causes tooth decay in a child?
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria and other things. It can happen when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) are left on the teeth. Such foods include milk, soda, raisins, candy, cake, fruit juices, cereals, and bread. Bacteria that normally live in the mouth change these foods, making acids. The combination of bacteria, food, acid, and saliva form a substance called plaque that sticks to the teeth. Over time, the acids made by the bacteria eat away at the tooth enamel, causing cavities.
Which children are at risk for tooth decay?
All children are at risk for tooth decay. But the following may raise your child’s risk for it:
- A diet high in sugars and starches.
- Water supply that has limited or no fluoride in it.
- Poor oral hygiene.
- Less saliva flow than normal.
- High level of bacteria in their mouth.
What are the Signs of early childhood tooth decay?
Early childhood caries develop over time and can be difficult to see in the early stages. Tooth decay may show as:
- a dull white band on the tooth surface closest to the gum line – this is the first sign and usually remains undetected by parents
- a yellow, brown or black band on the tooth surface closest to the gum line – this indicates progression to decay
- teeth that look like brownish-black stumps – this indicates that the child has advanced decay.
Now that you know what causes cavities, how do you prevent them?
Preventing cavities can be easy when you maintain a good oral hygiene routine of brushing, flossing and rinsing each and every day. You should also visit a dentist regularly, preferably at least twice a year. Professional cleanings will help remove plaque and tartar in a more comprehensive way than you can perform yourself at home. Knowing what causes cavities is the first step to keeping your mouth in good health. By taking steps to prevent cavities, you will help keep your teeth and mouth in great condition.
It is almost impossible to know when cavities begin to form. That’s why it is paramount to ensure that your child regularly visits the dentist for checkups, professional cleanings, and guidance. The child doesn’t need to be in pain for you to take him to the dentist. However, if your child is in pain, Give us a call (703)719-9305 now to schedule a visit.