Cavities are a not-so-pleasant surprise that we can get any time! They are the holes in your teeth formed over time due to tooth decay. It can get bigger and deeper if not treated in time. Cavities are pretty common in children. According to a U.S. government study, 43% of kids between 2 to 19 years of age had cavities in 2015-16.
We will go through the symptoms, causes, treatment, and prevention of cavities in children.
Symptoms of Cavities in Children
A small child or a toddler can’t express the pain and discomfort in their teeth. Therefore as a parent, you should look out for the signs like white or dark spots or pits on teeth. Notice if your child is avoiding eating or their teeth are getting extra sensitive. Also, check for any swelling or redness in their jaw. Mood swings and lethargy in your kids can also be a sign of a dental problem. Your kid might not show all the symptoms clearly, so look out carefully.
Causes of Cavities in Children
Cavities are the prime reason that your dentist and your mom were continually insisting on minimizing your beloved sweet treats. The stress on brushing twice and flossing once a day was also to prevent cavities. When the starch and sugar don’t get cleaned from your kid’s mouth, their bacteria forms plaque. The acids of plaque degenerate the teeth and cause cavities.
Following are some other factors that cause cavities:-
- Excessive consumption of sugary foods and drinks
- Saliva quality not being good
- Babies going to sleep with a bottle in their mouth
- Growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth
- The disturbed pH level of the mouth
- Not following up on dentist's appointments
- Inadequate cleaning and brushing of baby teeth
How to Prevent Cavity in Children?
Being aware of the causes of cavities is half battle won. You can be alert about all the factors mentioned in the previous section that leads to cavities in children. Regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene is the key to cavity prevention. Ensure your kids brush appropriately with fluoride toothpaste twice a day. Brushing and flossing before bedtime is vital.
If your babies haven’t grown teeth yet, clean their gums by wiping them with a soft cotton cloth. Try to provide them with healthy options for their favourite sweet candies.
Cavity Treatment Options for Children
You will be amazed to know that there are several treatment options to cure pediatric cavities. Let’s check out the most proven and popular ones:-
- Dental Fillings: First of all, the cavities are removed from the tooth. Then a dental filling made up of composite resin is filled in the hole created by the cavity. It stops further degeneration of the tooth and makes it cavity-free.
- Self-healing: If your kid is disciplined enough to brush and floss regularly and stay away from sweets, the cavity can resolve itself without any treatment. But this way of treatment can only be suggested by a dentist and only for some time.
- Pulpotomy: This process is similar to a root canal. Pulpotomy is done when the decay is more profound in the teeth. First, a small infected portion of the inner pulp of your teeth is removed. Next, a medicated packing material is placed in its place. Finally, it is sealed with a dental filling.
- White Crowns: A crown is to protect the chipped portion of the teeth. It is made of metal and ceramic. It is protected by a metal shell and veneer and looks similar to original teeth. White crowns are second in strength to metal crowns.
- Silver Crowns or Caps: These crowns are required to protect the teeth after a root canal or pulpotomy. Silver crown is a durable alternative to white filings. They are made of stainless steel. They are effective in protecting further cavities in children.
- Tooth Extraction: Orthodontists suggest tooth extraction in extreme cases only when the cavities grew beyond repair. This is done to prevent the spread of the cavity in other teeth.
- White Fillings: It is the best way of cavity treatment in the initial stage. It is made of plastic and is used to fix cavities in the grooves of the teeth. A filling containing mercury can’t be placed on a kid’s teeth. Therefore white fillings are ideal for small kids.
Cavities in children are both preventable and treatable. It would be best to get your kid’s cheek-up done with your trusted dentist twice a year. It is required from the infant stage of their childhood. Dentists can monitor your child’s smile and guide you to take care of their oral health.