Your schedule has been busy for weeks, taking your kids to activities and managing different obligations. After packed days and nights, you finally get a slower day and help the kids with their bedtime routine. But when you check their teeth after brushing, you notice some discoloration. That’s when you remember one place you haven’t been in a while — the dentist.
Tooth decay is a serious issue affecting your child’s overall health and well-being. It’s something every parent dreads, and seeing it for the first time can be alarming. But the good news is that it is preventable, and it starts with regular dental checkups. How knowledgeable are you about tooth decay and tooth decay prevention?
Tooth decay, as defined by WebMD, is the destruction of tooth enamel and the dentin layer. The first signs of tooth decay include tooth sensitivity and discoloration. Your child may feel discomfort when consuming hot or cold food and beverages. The tooth may already be decaying if you also see white to brownish discoloration on the tooth surfaces. Discoloration can also be black if tooth decay has already reached its advanced stages.
There’s a lot going on in our mouths all the time. We breathe, talk, eat, drink, and more. And while adults may be able to handle the grind, kids may not. In most cases, it is a result of poor oral hygiene and the presence of plaque.
Plaque is a combination of bacteria, food debris, saliva, and acids. It sticks to tooth surfaces and gums and starts wearing off tooth enamel. It leads to tooth decay and cavities as acid attacks tooth enamel.
People who don’t have enough saliva are at risk of tooth decay. It could be because of medicines, diseases, or treatments. Kids who don’t get enough fluoride through toothpaste and toothbrushing are also at risk. Babies and toddlers who drink from bottles and have their teeth frequently exposed to sugary liquids can also be prime candidates for tooth decay.
When left untreated, tooth decay can cause toothaches and lead to cavities and tooth loss. Toothaches are a common symptom and can occur when tooth enamel wears off. It’s also the first sign of tooth infection, which can lead to tooth loss and even infection of other teeth.
Tooth decay can also lead to cavities. Cavities are holes in the tooth and may need a tooth extraction to prevent further damage. Sometimes, a root canal or other treatments may be better solutions.
Yes, all these tooth decay stories sound scary, but it’s possible to keep your kids away from the nightmare. As parents and guardians, you don’t want them to feel pain or lose their teeth. To prevent tooth decay, you can do the following with your kids:
It’s very important to take your kids for regular checkups and teeth cleaning. Dentists thoroughly examine tooth surfaces and can detect tooth decay early on. They can also give you the best advice for tooth decay prevention and treatment.
It’s also recommended to have kids get tooth sealants. These are thin coatings that help protect tooth enamel from tooth decay. They can also prevent tooth infection and tooth loss. Your dentist can advise if tooth sealants are suitable for your kid.
Oral hygiene means brushing your teeth and flossing at least twice a day. Brushing helps remove tooth plaque and bacteria from tooth surfaces and gums. And don’t forget to use toothpaste with fluoride, which helps strengthen tooth enamel!
Have a healthy diet. Avoid sugary and starchy food that can harm tooth enamel and increase decay risk. Instead of giving flavored or sugary drinks, use water for hydration. Give your kids plenty of fruits and vegetables to keep their tooth enamel strong.
Your kids look up to you, so be a good example of tooth decay prevention. Moreover, “regular” dental visits mean every six months, though some people may need to visit more often. When it’s time to see the dentist, whether during the Halloween season or the holidays, make sure to book your appointment!
Making kids love brushing their teeth and going on dental visits can be challenging, so what can you do as a parent? Having a board-certified pediatric dentist you trust can make tooth decay prevention so much easier. At Bay Area Kids Dentist, we make tooth decay prevention exciting and enjoyable!
Our dentists help kids have a super smile for life. We guide children and parents in maintaining healthy teeth and gums and offer services necessary for dental concerns. If it’s time for checkups, preventive sealants, or dietary advice, Bay Area Kids Dentist is here!
Let’s keep tooth decay at bay together. Book an appointment now.it