Though your children will get a new set of teeth in grade school, they will still depend on their first set of teeth for a considerable amount of time. Untreated dental diseases in children, even in baby teeth, can have serious complications, that will last a lifetime.
For example, infected molars in children can lead to a condition called mandibular cellulitis. This is an inflammation of the jaw that requires hospitalization and antibiotics to treat. Tooth loss and decay also affect your child’s looks, self-esteem, and enjoyment in life.
When children learn about proper dental care early, it sets them up for a lifetime of healthy gums and teeth. To keep your child happy and healthy, you need to catch cavities early. Know the warning signs to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
How Do Cavities Form?
Cavities develop when sugary foods remain in your mouth and breed harmful bacteria. These colonies of bacteria stick to your teeth and emit harmful acids that chip away at your tooth enamel. They weaken the coating that protects your teeth from most elements.
Though your body’s natural defenses produce saliva that washes most foods away, brushing your teeth and flossing are the best ways to prevent cavities from having a chance.
After cavities take root, they need to be filled in and treated before they can spread and erode the remainder of the affected tooth. If left untreated, the cavity will turn into full tooth decay, requiring a dental implant or prosthesis to replace the missing tooth.
The good news is that when treated early, cavities and early tooth decay can be treated effectively and reversed with professional help.
How Can You Catch Cavities In Kids Early?
Overall, the best way to catch cavities in kids early is to take them to the dentist and get regular check-ups. Only a healthcare professional can see all the early signs and reverse the cavity process before things get expensive and painful.
Aside from seeing your dentist, here are some early signs of cavities your kids may report.
- Sensitive teeth
- Pain when eating or drinking something hot or cold
- Stains that are brown, black, or white
- Being able to see holes in teeth
- Pain when biting
If you or your child experiences any of these symptoms, call your dentist right away.
How Do Children Get Cavities?
USA Today reports that 42 percent of children get cavities in their first set of teeth. Whereas 21% of kids 11 and under get cavities in their adult teeth. These are staggering statistics that warn parents and guardians that being vigilant about your child’s tooth brushing habits is a must.
It’s easy to guess why older children develop cavities. Sugary drinks like soda are large offenders. Combine these sugar-filled foods with a not-so-attentive tooth brushing routine and you get cavities.
Babies and toddlers often get cavities from a condition called bottle rot. This is when babies and toddlers are sent to naptime or bedtime with their bottles.
They end up sleeping with the milk in their mouths for an extended period of time without getting their teeth brushed. When practiced consistently, these young ones can develop cavities, especially in their four front teeth.
Since many children take the bottle to bed as a comforting factor, try switching the contents of the bottle to water. Weaning bottle use in toddlers is also recommended. Not only will they learn to sleep on their own, they’ll also have a better chance at avoiding an overbite caused by extended bottle use.
How Do You Prevent Cavities In Your Kids?
To prevent cavities from forming, you need to stop bacteria in their tracks. Therefore, the best way to prevent cavities is to practice great home care and make regular visits to your dentist.
You should brush your child’s teeth twice a day and floss them once a day. It’s also a good practice to brush their tongue and use non-alcoholic mouthwash to clean out extra harmful bacteria. This also makes their breath smell nice, giving them some extra confidence.
Since children aren’t the most vigilant with their oral health care routines, parents must stay on top of brushing and flossing their children’s teeth as soon as they start coming in.
When Should I Start Bringing My Child To The Dentist?
Since childhood cavities can happen anytime after teeth arrive, we recommend that you bring your child for regular check-ups when his or her teeth start coming in. In this way, we can start checking their gums and teeth and give you expert tips on how to keep your their teeth in the best shape.
If you are looking for ways to prepare your child for their first dental appointment, take a look at our related blog post
Establish Healthy Habits.
By training your children early, you can lead them to a lifetime of healthy teeth. Do your best to have them clean their teeth routinely and limit their intake of candy and sugary drinks.
When both parents and kids put in their full effort, you can maximize your chances of eliminating cavities from your future.
If you have any other questions about pediatric dentistry, contact us.