As an adult, you know when you’re experiencing dental issues and have to see the dentist. Kids, on the other hand, aren’t always aware of what’s going on in their mouth; their oral hygiene is in their parents’ hands.
As a parent, it’s your responsibility to keep your child’s dental hygiene in check. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing every night will prevent the buildup of bacteria and keep your child’s teeth healthy and strong.
So what can parents do treat and prevent dental cavities and other issues in children?
Let’s take a look:
Understanding Tooth Decay
Before we even look at ways to keep your teeth healthy, it’s important to understand what tooth decay is and how it works.
Tooth decay refers to the destruction of the enamel. The enamel is a strong outer layer that covers and protects teeth from harmful chemicals and bacteria.
When bacteria build up in the mouth, it starts chipping away at the enamel leaving the tooth exposed. With time, it begins attacking the tooth itself and creates holes.
Bacteria left on the teeth from foods that are rich in carbohydrates (starches and sugars) attack the enamel. Kids that have a diet that contains foods like cake, candy, soda, bread, cereal and even fruit are susceptible to developing tooth decay.
When the bacteria in the mouth come in contact with certain foods, it raises the acidity in the mouth. The food particles, along with bacteria, saliva and acid present in the mouth create a sticky substance called plague, which sits between the teeth and the gum-line. If it isn’t cleaned, it will eventually attack the enamel and cause cavities.
Will All Children Develop Tooth Decay?
Both, children and adults, have bacteria in their mouth that makes them susceptible to tooth decay. That being said, adults are usually better at dental hygiene than children, which reduces their chances of developing tooth decay.
The following increases chances of tooth decay in children:
- A diet with lots of carbohydrates
- Water supply with limited fluoride content
- Poor dental hygiene
- An overly dry mouth
Symptoms of tooth decay
Tooth decay and cavities develop differently in each child but generally it starts off with the formation of white spots on affected areas of the teeth.
The white spots indicate that the enamel is breaking down. Once the enamel breaks, the bacteria attacks the teeth, turning them brown in affected areas. The brown color changes to black and eventually creates a hole.
Children don’t know when they’re experiencing tooth decay, which is why is important for them to visit the dentist regularly. Sometimes they may complain of toothache and sensitivity.
Treating Tooth Decay
The treatment of tooth decay will depend on your child’s age and the extent of the damage. In the majority of cases, the decayed portion will be removed and replaced with a filling called a restoration.
Types of Restoration
Direct Restoration: In a filling that is made out of fine glass powders, silver, resin or acrylic acid is placed into a hole.
Indirect restoration: These consist of onlays, inlays, dental crowns, bridges and veneers. They are made out of base metal allows, gold, composites and ceramics. They are designed to look like natural teeth.
Preventing Tooth Decay
Your child’s teeth, gums and even tongue will have to be brushed at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to prevent the buildup of bacteria.
At a younger age, you will have to brush your child’s teeth yourself but when they turn 3, place a pea-sized blob of toothpaste on their toothbrush and teach them how to brush their teeth properly. They should begin flossing their teeth after they turn 2.
Also, limiting sugary and starchy foods from your child’s diet will help keep their teeth healthy.
If you’re living in New Jersey and are looking for the best dentist in Cinnaminson NJ, head over to Rapha Dental LLC!
Dr. Huh has years of experience in treating children and adults struggling with dental problems. He offers dental services in Cinnaminson NJ pediatrics that ensure your child always has a healthy, pearly-white smile.
Contact us today for to book an appointment.