Cavities in kids are not uncommon so it is easy to blow them off as ‘just another cavity,’ but tooth decay even in baby teeth shouldn’t be ignored.
If your child has a cavity or you are concerned that they have tooth decay, read this article to learn the effects of cavities, how to prevent them, and select the treatment for your child.
Dangers of Tooth Decay
Dental cavities, also known as tooth decay, can actually cause infections in other parts of the body, such as the ears, sinuses, and the brain.
Tooth decay can also cause pain that can be distracting and affect your child’s day-to-day activities. It can change the way children eat and drink, which affects how they are able to take in nutrients. Dental cavities can also affect a child’s speech, sleeping habits, and even ability to pay attention during school.
Children also miss school due to appointments to fix tooth decay. In fact, every year more than 34 million school hours are sacrificed each year to treat dental problems in kids. In addition, parents have to take time off of work to go to their child’s appointments, and the cost of treating tooth decay can be costly.
How to Avoid Tooth Decay
The key to avoiding tooth decay is to limit your child’s sugar intake. Eating and drinking food and drinks that contain sugar, even with practicing good oral hygiene, can leave teeth vulnerable to decay.
It is very important to encourage your child to make brushing their teeth a priority. Brushing more than once a day decreases cavities by 20-30%. Thus, it is recommended to brush your child’s teeth for at least 2 minutes twice a day. Flossing should be added to your child’s oral health routine once all sides of the teeth can no longer be cleaned by a toothbrush alone.
Fluoride treatments can also prevent tooth decay. You’ll want to discuss fluoride treatments with your child’s pediatric dentist at the next appointment to properly protect their teeth.
Children should also start seeing a pediatric dentist regularly before age 1 not only for the prevention of tooth decay but also to keep an eye on any problems that may develop. Remember, 1 visit for 1 tooth can mean zero cavities!
Treating Tooth Decay
In order to treat a cavity, the first step is to remove the decayed part of the tooth. The hole that is left is then filled. You will want to discuss treatment options with your child’s pediatric dentist to make sure that the best material is chosen for filling your child’s tooth.
If your child ends up developing tooth decay, it is important to select the treatment that is the best fit for your child. There are several factors that are dependent on which solution is the best including a child’s age, risk factors, and ability to clean their teeth to prevent future decay.
Good communication between you and your child’s pediatric dentist is key for finding the right treatment plan as well as solutions for any tooth decay problems your child may be experiencing.