Tooth decay is the breakdown of enamel on the outer surface of teeth with the formation of holes or cavities. With severe tooth decay, cavities may be deep resulting in damaged nerves and other infected tissue in the mouth.
Tooth decay in children can be reversible, but practice good oral hygiene with even the first tooth because it is also preventable. Tooth decay can be common for small children who fall asleep with a bottle of milk or juice and falling asleep with liquid in the mouth can cause bacteria. No matter if it’s the first or fourth tooth, it needs to be brushed regularly to promote good dental health. While baby teeth do fall out eventually, good teeth early in life are important for a healthy mouth later on.
While the symptoms may vary upon the severity of the decay, here are some signs of tooth decay to look for in your child:
Tooth ache is a very common sign of tooth decay and children may become sensitive to hot or cold foods. With a tooth ache, teeth may also be sensitive to sweet or acidic foods as well. Limit the number of sweet foods your child eats in a day and brush teeth regularly.
These sensitivities are usually signs of cavities, a form of tooth decay that shows up as brown spots on the tooth, and dentists can treat the problem with a routine filling to prevent the cavity from spreading. White spots however are commonly the first tell tale sign of an early cavity.
The more decayed a tooth has become, the gum tissue may become inflamed and infected. Inflammation of the jaw can then occur causing severe pain and is commonly accompanied with a fever. As nerves and tissue around the teeth start to decay, the teeth with turn color and become darker.
Other symptoms associated with tooth decay are poor self esteem, inadequate nutrition, and problems with speech development.
The dangers of tooth decay in children not only include pain and infection, but possibly chewing problems and other chronic disease. It can also affect speech and articulation.
Prevention includes brushing and flossing every day, eating healthy and limiting sugars and carbohydrates, and drinking fluoridated water. And remember, don’t let your baby fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth.
Schedule routine dental visits and see your child’s dentist with the first sign of tooth decay. Take an active role in keeping that mouth healthy!
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