Sometimes, no matter how often we brush or floss, cavities can still develop, but practicing good oral hygiene is essential to maintaining your child’s healthy smile.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23% of children aged 2-5 years had tooth decay in their primary teeth.
It’s especially important to play a proactive role in monitoring your child’s smile to ensure it lasts a lifetime.
Although cavities are a common issue many children encounter, there are preventative strategies to help treat cavities and maintain a healthy smile.
At Jenkins & LeBlanc, we’re committed to helping grow your child’s healthy smile. Check out our frequently asked questions when it comes to cavities in children.
What Causes Cavities?
Foods and drinks high in sugars and carbohydrates can cause bacteria if they remain in the mouth after a meal or snack. Over time, the bacteria forms as plaque, a sticky film on the teeth that produces acids which can attack the tooth’s surface. The acids from plaque can eat away at the tooth enamel and infect the teeth, gums, and bone that support the teeth.
Signs of Cavities
Depending on the extent of tooth decay, signs and symptoms may vary. As the decay gets worse, it may cause signs and symptoms such as:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Mild to sharp pain with hot or cold food and beverages
- Holes or pits in your teeth
- Brown, black or white stains on the tooth surface
Cavities in Baby Teeth
Even though baby teeth are temporary, they are still important for your child’s oral development. Baby teeth help shape your child’s face, as well as affect them when they eat, chew, and speak. Baby teeth also reserve space and guide the permanent teeth to come in correctly.
If your child has a cavity in their baby tooth, it may require a dental restoration such as a filling, which will prevent the infection from spreading.
Cavities in Permanent Teeth
As your child’s permanent teeth come in, preventative methods to stop cavities from developing are essential. Since permanent teeth are the last stage of tooth development, proactive care is necessary for teeth to remain healthy and last a lifetime.
For small decay, a tooth may need a filling, but for larger areas, a dental restoration such as a crown, may be required to ensure the tooth lasts for life.
How to Prevent Cavities in Children
The good news is, cavities are preventable! To maintain your child’s healthy smile, we recommend integrating the following into your daily routine:
- Brush at least 2 times a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Floss daily to remove plaque from between teeth and below the gum line
- Limit starchy and sugary foods
- Use dental products that contain fluoride, including toothpaste
- Drink lots of water
- Consider dental sealants
- Schedule regular teeth cleanings and checkups every 6 months with Jenkins & LeBlanc
Does Your Child Have a Cavity?
As board certified pediatric dentists, Dr. Jenkins & LeBlanc are dedicated to your child’s smile.
If you’re worried your child may have a cavity, schedule an appointment with Jenkins & LeBlanc. We will examine your child’s teeth and recommend preventative strategies to ensure your child develops a healthy smile. Schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations today!