Cavities and Kids — The Importance of Stopping Decay

When kids get tooth decay, the process that happens when tooth enamel breaks down, they can get cavities and face other health consequences. Childhood cavities are common; by age 11, more than 4 out of 10 children have had a cavity.

Even when your child doesn’t have adult teeth yet, tooth decay can cause permanent problems if it goes untreated. It’s important to work with your child to prevent tooth decay and get cavities filled promptly.

Our team of pediatric dentists at Easy Dental Care, Hisham Merdad, BDS, DSCD and Zuwena Abraham, DDS, help families resolve their child’s tooth decay for good. Dr. Merdad and Dr. Abraham share why it’s important to stop tooth decay in children, and what you can do to help.

Causes of tooth decay in children

Tooth decay has several potential causes. Poor oral hygiene, including not regularly brushing your child’s teeth, is one of the top reasons children get cavities.

Your child’s eating habits can also contribute to tooth decay. Kids are at higher risk for cavities when their diet is high in sugar, simple starches, and water without fluoride added.

Children who tend to produce less saliva and have dry mouths, as well as higher levels of cavity-causing bacteria, are also more likely to experience tooth decay.

Symptoms of tooth decay in children

By monitoring your child’s teeth, you can spot tooth decay early and keep your child from developing more serious problems. When you see any of these potential signs of tooth decay, make an appointment to see our dentists at Easy Dental Care.

Kids with cavities sometimes experience pain around the affected tooth. They might also feel sensitivity to cold or hot beverages, or when eating certain foods.

Teeth with decay also show visual signs of a cavity. In early stages of decay, you can start to see white spots in the tooth.

As the tooth gets more decayed and develops a cavity, its color initially changes to light brown. When the cavity is not treated right away and progresses, the tooth turns dark brown or black.

How to prevent tooth decay in children

You can lower your child’s risk of tooth decay and cavities by taking preventative measures. As soon as your child’s first baby tooth comes in, start brushing the teeth and gums twice a day. You should schedule your first dental appointment at Easy Dental Care when your child’s first tooth comes in, or when your child is a year old.

When your child is two, you can start flossing daily alongside brushing. Continue to get your child regular cleanings and checkups every six months, or as recommended by our dentists.

Feed your child a healthy diet low in simple sugars, such as sweets, juice, and chips. Avoid sharing utensils that will transfer your saliva to your child, as it increases the risk of causing decay by exposing your child’s mouth to additional bacteria.

Once kids develop adult molars, our dentists also recommend they get dental sealants. Combined with good dental hygiene, sealants form a protective tooth barrier that reduces the risk of bacteria entering molar teeth and forming cavities.

How to treat tooth decay in children

It’s important to bring your child into Easy Dental Care right away if you suspect tooth decay. Once your child has developed a cavity, care from a dentist is the only way to eliminate the decay.

Using a thorough examination and X-rays, our dentists examine your child and determine the extent of the decay. In most cases, our doctors recommend a cavity filling, which removes any tooth decay and replaces it with a filling. When your child’s tooth decay is advanced, they might recommend your child get a root canal or extraction.

Our compassionate dentists at Easy Dental Care, located in Gainesville, Virginia, are specially trained in making trips to the dentist relaxing and fun for children, while also providing excellent care. If you suspect your child has tooth decay or cavities, request your appointment online at any time, or call our practice at 804-223-3610 during business hours.

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