Dental cavities affect all children to varying degrees. You can minimize the risk of cavities by teaching your children about optimal brushing and flossing techniques, but the best way to prevent cavities is through regular dental cleanings and checkups. When cavities occur, it’s important to address the problem early to prevent it from worsening.
What are cavities?
Cavities, also known as caries, are holes in the teeth caused by the breakdown and subsequent destruction of the tooth enamel, i.e., the hard outer surface of the teeth. Cavities on the enamel don’t cause any pain or discomfort, but the child can experience severe pains and complications if the bacterial decay spreads past the enamel and into the root canal.
What are the symptoms of tooth decay?
- Formation of white spots on the teeth to indicate the gradual breakdown of enamel.
- Increases sensitivity in the teeth.
- The appearance of light brown cavities on the teeth.
- The cavity goes deeper, becoming dark brown or black.
- The child experiences pain around a specific tooth.
- The child complains while eating sweets, hot foods, or cold foods.
How can you prevent cavities in children?
- Start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first one erupts.
- Brush at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste.
- If the child is younger than 3, use a small grain-sized amount of toothpaste.
- If the child is older than 3, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
- Floss the child’s teeth after 2 years of age.
- Limit sticky and sugary foods from the child’s diet.
- Schedule regular dental cleanings and check-ups every 6 months.
- Follow the pediatric dentist’s recommendations.