Cavities are a common concern in children and can be caused by a number of factors.
Unfortunately, tooth decay and cavities are a common problem in children. But what causes these problems? And how can they be prevented? Read on to find out how cavities form, and how they can be treated and prevented…
What causes cavities?
Tooth decay occurs when plaque is left to build up on the teeth, and it wears away at the enamel. When the enamel wears down, a hole can form.
Tooth decay often affects children because they aren’t always able to brush and floss their teeth with the proper technique, or for long enough. It is important that your child brushes their teeth twice a day, for at least two minutes each time.
Children under the age of six years old are not usually able to brush their teeth properly by themselves, so we recommend that you do the brushing for them or at least supervise your child until they are able to clean their own teeth thoroughly. Similarly, we encourage parents to floss their children’s teeth while they are too young to do it themselves.
Another reason that many young children often suffer with tooth decay and cavities is that they are allowed to eat sugary treats on a regular basis. Diet plays an important role in oral health, and it is best for children to eat sweet foods in moderation only.
What are the symptoms of cavities?
It can be difficult to know if your child has a cavity, but some of the possible symptoms include white or dark spots on the affected tooth, sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks, sensitivity to sweet foods, swelling near the affected tooth, and unexplained fussiness and lethargy.
If you notice any of these symptoms, we encourage you to bring your child in to see us. We will perform a thorough check-up and recommend a suitable treatment based on the extent of the damage.
What are the treatment options?
If your child has a cavity, your dentist may recommend a filling. Fillings are an effective means of repairing a damaged tooth and provide support to the affected tooth. If a filling is necessary, your dentist will remove the tooth decay and fill the hole with a composite material in order to preserve the remaining tooth.
In cases of severe decay or if a tooth has broken, an extraction might be recommended. A space maintainer will usually be placed in the gap in order to avoid future complications.
Can cavities be prevented?
Besides practicing proper oral hygiene and following a balanced diet low in sugar, one of the best things you can do for your child’s oral health is to bring them in for regular dental check-ups and cleans. During these appointments, any dental problems can be identified and treated before they become more complex, and proper brushing and flossing techniques can be explained and demonstrated to both you and your child.
Your children’s teeth can also be protected from tooth decay and cavities with sealants. Sealants are a plastic coating that is applied to the teeth at the back of the mouth, and acts as a barrier between the teeth and bacteria, plaque and food debris.
How can we help?
At Murwillumbah Dental, we offer a range of children’s dentistry services, and love treating our youngest patients. For a full list of the children’s dentistry treatments that we provide, please have a look here. You can also find out about the Child Dental Benefits Schedule here.
If you would like to make an appointment to see us, please get in touch with us here.