Children are particularly susceptible to cavities, and it may be a surprise to find that even with good oral hygiene, your child might develop one. So it’s one of the most prevalent diseases in children all over the world. Cavities in children can occur even in baby teeth, and you shouldn’t ignore them, even if the child is close to losing them and getting their permanent teeth.
In this post, we’ll look at how you can deal with cavities in children.
Cavities in Children: How They Form
Cavities, also known as dental caries, result from bacterial acids in the mouth, causing tooth decay. Numerous bacteria inhabit your child’s mouth; this isn’t a bad thing, as an average amount of flora is present in healthy, normal human mouths. However, good oral hygiene is essential to avoid bacteria causing damage to teeth.
A thin film of plaque accumulates on every surface in the mouth, including the teeth. Plaque is a biofilm. In other words, it’s composed of bacteria and fungi that feed on food particles and fermentable sugars. Brushing, flossing, and regular cleaning prevents this film from accumulating and the composite bacteria from causing damage.
If left unchecked, the bacteria can destroy even the hardened enamel of the tooth, eventually reaching the dentin layer underneath and permeating the soft pulp inside the tooth.
Treating Cavities: Fillings and Options
Your child’s mouth, jaw, and teeth are still developing. Until about the age of 6, your child will continue to have baby teeth. After this, permanent teeth will gradually replace them. Meanwhile, your child will have a mixture of permanent teeth and baby teeth.
You might consider that not treating cavities in baby teeth, especially if the child has mixed dentition and is close to exfoliating (shedding) the tooth, is an option. However, it’s important to treat cavities as soon as possible.
The reason? Bacteria can penetrate deeper into teeth than might be visible, all the way down to the roots. There is an increased risk of periodontal disease, infection, and abscess formation. The tooth or surrounding area might become inflamed as well. All this will cause your child distress and discomfort, especially when eating. Toothaches are extremely unpleasant! It might even damage the underlying permanent tooth.
The Bottom Line: Aim for Prevention but Treat Cavities in Children Promptly
It’s crucial to have your child’s teeth looked at by a pediatric dentist as soon as you spot a cavity. The dentist will evaluate whether a filling will solve the problem or if the tooth needs extraction. Of course, the individual diagnosis will vary depending on the cavities’ progression and how close that tooth is to being replaced by a permanent tooth.
Prevention of cavities includes strengthening the teeth with fluoride, maintaining rigorous and regular oral hygiene (flossing and brushing thoroughly, covering all areas of the teeth and gums), and giving your child a diet low in sugar. It’s also vital to visit your dentist regularly to make sure your child’s teeth are healthy and developing correctly.
At Kids4Ever Pediatric Dentistry, our dentists specialize in the treatment of children and child dental issues. Our experience equips us to offer you the friendliest, highest-quality care, allowing you to make the best decisions for your child’s future health.
Give us a call at (832) 300-8444, and we’d love to see you!