Does your Child Have a Cavity?
Even though your child may regularly visit the dentist, he or she can develop oral health problems in between visits, which will only worsen if left untreated. Cavity development is a particularly important oral health problem to watch for, as a cavity left untreated will deteriorate the tooth and cause your child increasing discomfort. Cavities can appear at young ages, too; in fact, 4 million preschoolers suffer from tooth decay. That's why you'll want to look out for common warning signs that a cavity may be forming early on.
How can you tell?
- If your child already has one or more cavities, he or she is at a greater risk for developing another cavity. Cavities typically form as a result of certain bacteria that grow in the mouth, bacteria that can remain even after a cavity has been filled; thus, one cavity greatly increases the likelihood of another in the future. However, proper measures can help combat the risks of these bacteria.
- If your child brushes his or her teeth less than once a day, they're at a high risk for developing a cavity. And did you know? If you've had multiple cavities throughout your life, your child is at a greater risk of developing cavities, too. Family history does have a part to play in a child's risk for poor dental health—but can be reduced with proper measure.
- Check teeth for the presence of plaque. Plaque appears as yellowish accumulation on the surface of the teeth, and is most commonly found along the gum line. Children with plaque are at a higher risk for gum inflammation and cavities, particularly if they maintain plaque on their front teeth, which is a sign that adequate brushing is not occurring.
- If your child still drinks from a bottle that contains something other than water, he or she is at a greater risk for developing a cavity. The longer a child uses a bottle, the longer his or her teeth are exposed to the carbohydrates that are found in liquids like milk and juice; these carbohydrates produce acid, which deteriorates teeth.
- In addition to looking for signs of plaque, check for small white spots on the surface of your child's teeth, too. These unusual white spots begin to occur when minerals leak from a tooth's enamel, and are a strong indication that a cavity is developing.
What Can Be Done?
As soon as you suspect your child may be developing a cavity, schedule a dentist appointment. However, there are other preventative measures parents can take to mitigate their child's risk of cavities throughout the year. These include:
- Having children brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste.
- Reducing a child's exposure to sweets and sugary drinks.
- Seeing to it that a child brushes his or her teeth twice a day for two minutes each time.
- Attending regular dental check-ups at least twice a year.
Concerned your child may have a cavity? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Frank at A Safari Dental today!