Table of Contents
- 1. What makes a child get caries?
- 2. What should be done to prevent tooth decay?
- 3. Which children are at risk for dental caries?
- 4. How is caries diagnosed in a child?
- 5. A way to protect children’s teeth and what to do if cavities are present
- 6. Summarizing the most important points about tooth decay in children
- 7. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) recommends that:
Baby teeth are very important. If baby teeth are lost too early, the remaining teeth can shift, leaving no room for the adult teeth to come in. It is important to keep the teeth healthy. Gum disease can not only be painful and cause long-term health problems.
Tooth decay is the most common chronic infectious disease in children. Early childhood caries is the name given to cavities in children. Caries can also be called breastfeeding caries or baby bottle tooth decay.
1. What makes a child get caries?
Sugary foods that are left on the teeth can cause tooth decay. Some examples of foods included in this diet plan are milk, soda, raisins, candy, cakes, fruit juices, and bread. The bacteria that live in the mouth usually alter these foods, causing acidity. Bacteria, food, and saliva combine to form a sticky substance called plaque that sticks to your teeth. Over time, the acid produced by the bacteria gets into the hole in the teeth as they eat away at the enamel and cause tooth decay.
Tooth decay can occur when teeth are exposed to a liquid or food other than water for a long period of time, often throughout the day.
2. What should be done to prevent tooth decay?
In short, you can protect your baby’s teeth from cavities by following these 4 simple steps:
- Step 1: Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle full of milk, juice or soda. This rewets the teeth and feeds the acids that can cause tooth decay throughout the night. Save bottles for naps and bedtime, so your child doesn’t fall asleep with the bottle in his mouth. Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle full of milk, juice or soda. This rewets the teeth and creates acids that can cause cavities during the night. Save bottles for naps and bedtime, so your child doesn’t fall asleep with the bottle in his or her mouth.
- Step 2: Brush your child’s teeth as soon as you get home from a trip. Don’t let your child have snacks or drinks right before bedtime instead of brushing their teeth.
- Step 3: Limit the amount of sugar in your child’s diet, one of the main causes of tooth decay. Try to eat whole grains like rice, wheat, oatmeal or barley.
- Step 4: Brush your baby’s teeth after breastfeeding and at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove plaque buildup. Remember, it’s never too early to start brushing your baby’s teeth!
3. Which children are at risk for dental caries?
Adults and children of all ages are at risk for tooth decay. However, sugary foods and frequent beverage consumption can be especially harmful to toddlers and kids with less developed eating habits. Exclusive breastfeeding of infants may reduce the likelihood of tooth decay. Breast milk does not allow as much bacterial growth as formula or cow’s milk, which reduces the amount of acid produced by bacteria in the mouth. The baby’s chewing and swallowing motion help get rid of plaque.
The bacteria in your child’s mouth is a risk factor. Your child is at higher risk for tooth decay if he or she has the following:
- A large number of bacteria that cause cavities
- A diet that is excessively high in sugar and carbohydrates
- A water supply that contains little or no fluoride
- A lack of oral hygiene
- A lower than typical amount of saliva
4. How is caries diagnosed in a child?
Your child’s dentist can usually diagnose tooth decay based on the following criteria:
- A comprehensive history of your child’s dental health
- Dental X-rays of your child’s mouth
5. A way to protect children’s teeth and what to do if cavities are present
- Fluoride can be used to have your child’s teeth cleaned every six months. Generally, 20% fluoride is necessary to prevent tooth decay and cavities on the teeth.
- Use a soft brush to clean your child’s teeth 3 times a day. The softer the bristles, the better the teeth and gums will be protected from decay damage.
- Be sure to brush and floss your child’s teeth from the age of 2.
- When it comes to diet, make sure you offer your children plenty of nutritious foods and limit certain sticky, sugary foods.
- It’s important not to transfer bacteria from your mouth to your child’s. Don’t share eating utensils or clean the pacifier with your saliva.
- Suppose your child uses a bottle at bedtime but only water in it. It’s best not to give him fruit juice or formula, as this can lead to tooth decay.
- Schedule semi-annual dental visits for your children.
6. Summarizing the most important points about tooth decay in children
- Tooth decay is the breakdown of tooth enamel. It can lead to holes in the teeth called cavities.
- Cavities occur when bacteria form plaque that attacks tooth enamel.
- Poor oral health increases the risk of tooth decay in children.
- A dentist can detect tooth decay with an exam and X-rays
- To treat it, the decayed part of the tooth must be removed and replaced with a filling, which of course, you want to avoid at all costs.
7. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) recommends that:
- Every child should have their first dental visit when they are one year old.
- The first exam may only include an oral exam where you can look for early signs of decay.
- After the first visit, dental visits are recommended every six months throughout childhood.
- The dentist should take photos and x-rays of your child’s teeth, including the back teeth.
- The dentist will take your child’s medical history and perform a thorough examination.
- Parents should limit the amount of food and drink throughout the day to 3 meals and 2 snacks. They should make healthy choices in food intake and limit juice consumption. The more sugar a child consumes, the more likely they are to develop cavities.
- Parents should brush their children’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste as soon as they see the first tooth come in (erupt).
We have learned that tooth decay is a condition where sugar and carbohydrates damage the teeth in the diet. Early childhood caries is the term used for tooth decay in children.
Please feel free to ask any questions you may have!
I’m a General Dental Practitioner from Belgium living in the USA. I work Biotech Dental with my 20+ years of experience working in the dental industry and dealing with 1000’s patients, I hope to inform you and help you with my knowledge and the importance of dental hygiene.