Cavity (also known as tooth decay and dental caries) is a hole in the teeth usually caused by a slimy substance called plaque that carries a lot of germs. These cavities, when left unattended, can grow bigger and deeper and even lead to necessary extraction of teeth. Tooth decay is a problem that only affects adults, but they also are seen in small children as young as two years old. So, How To Prevent Dental Cavities In Children?
Statistics of occurrence of tooth decay in children are quite alarming and raises questions like toddler tooth decay reversal? The fact is, nearly 42 percent of children aged between 2 to 11years develop a cavity in their primary teeth and 28 percent of children between 2 to 5years suffer from at least one cavity. This statistic is enough to give nightmares to parents. Most commonly cavities in children’s molars and in front teeth are noted.
- 1 DEVELOPMENT OF TEETH IN CHILDREN
- 2 HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR CHILD’S TEETH
- 3 WHY CAVITY OR TOOTH DECAY OCCURS IN CHILDREN
- 4 SYMPTOMS OF CAVITIES IN CHILDREN
- 5 CLINICAL DIAGNOSIS OF CAVITY
- 6 TREATMENT OF CAVITIES
- 7 How to treat cavities in baby teeth?
DEVELOPMENT OF TEETH IN CHILDREN
Let us first see in detail how tooth decay occurs in children. Children usually get their first tooth around 7 months of age, which might differ from child to child. The first tooth to peek out is usually lower front tooth. The first eight teeth (two pairs on top and two in the bottom) usually come in between 0 to 12 months. Dental hygiene must be practiced as soon as the first tooth sneaks in.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR CHILD’S TEETH
- Cleaning of baby’s teeth is the full fluoride toothpaste is a proven technique to give the best protection to the baby’s teeth.
- Children below 3 years of age should be given fluoride toothpaste in the size of a rice grain for cleaning their teeth.
- Wiping the gums with a soft gauze to remove food debris and fluids can also prevent tooth decay even before the first tooth comes out.
- Always, a small, soft brush must be used to clean children’s teeth.
- Parents should always make sure to supervise when their children brush and also makes sure the grooves of the molars, tongue, and gums are given special attention while brushing.
- Children tend to swallow toothpaste while brushing which is not a reason to worry if they are given toothpaste only in the size of a rice grain.
Children usually do not follow rinsing after brushing meticulously which is completely fine. Being toddlers, parents cannot scold them as they won’t understand anything.
Thus the only question arises in parents when they hear about a toddler cavity what to do? Studies show that the best routine to take care of children’s teeth is brushing and spitting.
WHY CAVITY OR TOOTH DECAY OCCURS IN CHILDREN
Tooth decay occurs in babies when acid-producing bacteria enter into their mouth. These bacteria can be transferred by parents or caretakers through their saliva when they love to share their spoons or taste the food before feeding their babies. Tooth decay also develops when teeth and gums are exposed to fluids or food for a long duration. Sugars present in food naturally or added sugars are converted to acid in the mouth, which in turn dissolves the outer part of the teeth leading to their decay.
When the children are put to sleep with bottles containing formula milk or juice or any liquid other than water the chances of risk for tooth decay becomes very high. The tooth decay in toddler’s front teeth is also said as nursing bottle caries, are to be treated by the dentist.
SYMPTOMS OF CAVITIES IN CHILDREN
The early signs of tooth decay in toddlers of cavities in children, but the symptoms may vary for each child.
- The spots develop on the teeth, indicating that the enamel is beginning to erode which in turn causes sensitivity in the teeth.
- When the decay is in early stage spots are brown in color and when they get deeper and bigger, the color changes from brown to black.
- Some children do not get any visible symptoms and have to wait until the dentist finds out.
- Developing sensitivity to certain foods like sweets, hot and cold drinks
- Pain in the area surrounding the tooth.
If the caries are left as untreated cavities in baby teeth, the teeth move into a final stage namely “Pulpectomy”.
CLINICAL DIAGNOSIS OF CAVITY
Dentists diagnose tooth decay based on the oral study of the child’s mouth and dental X-rays. The dentist enquires about the pain and extent of tooth sensitivity and also examines the teeth with dental equipment to check for soft areas. Dental X-rays give the best assessment of the extent of cavities and decay. Based on the X-ray results dentist can determine which of the three types of cavities has occurred. The three types are a smooth surface, fissure and pit and root.
TREATMENT OF CAVITIES
How To Prevent Dental Cavities In Children? How to heal cavities naturally without going to the dentist?
This is never possible because the root cause is the tooth and the nerves in the teeth; but in natural treatment there might a mild, temporary relief that can never be prolonged after some time like even in today’s developed world people use cloves, garlic, salt water gargling, turmeric, neem and change their diet pattern.
Regular visits to the dentist can help in early diagnosis of the cavity and can also help avoid invasive or extensive treatments when diagnosed in the early stage. The sooner it is detected, the progression of infection can be stopped and also the ill effects of early infection on the teeth can be reversed. Treatment of cavities depends on the severity of the infection and the extent to which the infection has developed.
How to treat cavities in baby teeth?
Here, the following subdivisions are meant for you to get to know the various child tooth decay treatment options.
Restoring the enamel with fluoride
If the cavity is in the early stage, just filling or restoring the enamel of the teeth with fluoride will help in reversing the cavity. Albeit, tap water and toothpaste contains fluoride, the amount of fluoride present in fluoride treatment is quite high. Fluoride treatment involves the application of fluoride in the form of gel, varnish, liquid or foam onto the surface of the teeth or placing them in a tray fitting over the teeth. The alternatives to filling cavities in baby teeth are this kind of fluoride treatment, though it can only prevent further growth of caries
Filling or restoration is done when the infection has crossed the primary stage. In this procedure for filling a child’s cavity, the affected tooth is filled with composite resins (tooth colored) or amalgam which is a combination of several materials. Porcelain can also be used as a filling material.
When the decay crosses the secondary stage and becomes extensive, crown placement is done. Crown is nothing but a custom-made covering that is placed on top of the decayed tooth to replace the natural crown. The decayed crown is manipulated by the dentist and some portions of the tooth surface are also removed to make sure that the custom-made covering fits perfectly inner to the tooth. Crowns can be made of gold, resin, plain high strength porcelain or porcelain fitted to metals.
This treatment has opted for when the infection has spread to the pulp of the teeth and has to be removed. The pulp is removed and replaced with a suitable filling. This procedure is done when the infection affects the pulp, but the inner nerve of the pulp is unaffected.
How To Prevent Dental Cavities In Children? How To Prevent Dental Cavities In Children?One of the advanced and modern techniques, that involve emitting a stream of minute particles using the high-pressure instrument to carve out the decay from the tooth. It’s a very convenient and relatively less painful treatment for the children. The instrument does not produce threatening sounds or vibrations which makes treatment of children all the more easier and comfortable.
• Tooth Extraction
In cases where tooth decay has gone to an extent where treatment is not possible, the affected tooth has to be extracted. The extraction is done only for primary teeth that are damaged beyond repair.
It is really worrying to know cavities can affect young children, but at the same time, it is really convincing that dental awareness is on the rise among parents. Tooth decay can certainly be prevented and avoided if oral hygiene is practiced meticulously in children, even before the first tooth emerges by taking care to wipe out fluid remnants in their oral cavity. Parents must make sure that their children brush their teeth twice a day and also floss after every meal. Treatment of dental cavities has become very advanced and modern that even a severe infection can be treated, but as the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure.”
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