Facts on Cavities
- Early childhood cavities are the most common oral health problem seen in pediatric dentistry.
- Cavities are the result of tooth decay. Tooth decay is the breakdown or destruction of tooth enamel. Enamel is the hard-outer surface of a tooth.
- If untreated, cavities can impact the child’s overall health and well-being, and lead to expensive dental procedures and treatments.to
What is the Cause?
- Buildup of bacteria, food, acid, and salvia on the teeth known as plaque
Symptoms and Signs:
- Toothache (spontaneous tooth pain)
- Tooth sensitivity
- Visible spots on teeth: white to light brown, and then brown to black
- Primary caregiver with active cavities
- Prolonged use of sippy cup throughout day
- Use of bottle at bedtime with sweetened beverages and milk
- Exposure to passive tobacco smoke
- Children with special health care needs
Tips on Protecting your Child’s Teeth!
Brush & Floss your child’s teeth twice a day.
Preferably in the morning and before bedtime. Clean the child’s gums even before first tooth is seen with a damp washcloth. Once first tooth appears, brush tooth.
Choose Healthy Drinks & foods!
Choose a whole foods diet for your child that includes a good amount of vegetables and fruit. Avoid drinks and foods that are sugary and processed.
Encourage drinking water.
Water from sink is safe and cheap. Avoid giving bottle or sippy cup at bedtime. Be a good role model and drink water as well!
Regular dental visits for check-ups.
Recommendation to visit dental clinic once child is at or near their first year of life. This is particularly important for children who have a higher risk of developing oral health problems. At least two annual dental care visits should be done to assess your child’s oral health. Be sure to ask questions if you have any concerns about your child and how to promote healthy oral hygiene at home for the child and family.
Care for and Prevent tooth injuries.
Injuries to the head, face and mouth are common in children. When an injury occurs, examine area, clean, and stop any bleeding. If bleeding has not stopped or other concerns come up, please call, and ask your dental clinic and schedule an appointment if recommended. Maintain clean and safe areas. Watch child on playground, especially at high places. Always remember to buckle your child’s seatbelt.
Resources for Childhood Dental Cavities
- Nowak, Arthur J., DMD, Warren, John J., DDS, MS. Preventive dental care and counseling for infants and young children. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/preventive-dental-care-and-counseling-for-infants-and-young-children?search=cavities&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=1#H12
- FamilyPractice Notebook. Dentistry Book. Tooth Disorders Chapter: Dental Caries. https://fpnotebook.com/dental/Teeth/DntlCrs.htm
- Resources for Childhood Cavities above