Reduce Early Tooth Decay in Children’s Teeth
Tooth decay, also known as dental caries, is the most common chronic oral health condition in children ranging from toddlers to teenagers. Tooth decay typically beings with weakened enamel. Unfortunately, this can quickly progress into cavities and tooth decay which is irreversible and requires extraction. Fortunately, early tooth decay can be prevented through good oral hygiene, the use of fluoride, and regular visits to the dentist.
The term tooth decay is used to describe weakened or damaged areas of the tooth's enamel. Tooth decay is caused by bacteria which is present in the mouth. When eating and drinking, bacteria feeds on the sugars and creates an acidic byproduct. These acids then attack and weaken the enamel of the teeth unless they are properly cleaned and the acids are removed.
When this breakdown of the enamel continues, the hard outer layer of the teeth can develop cavities. While cavities in toddlers cannot be reversed, they can fortunately be treated. The child will need to visit the dentist for examination and treatment.
Preventing Tooth Decay
Good oral hygiene and a healthy diet are the optimal ways for preventing tooth decay. Sugary foods and beverages should also be limited. One of the most important things parents can do to prevent cavities in toddlers is following a balanced diet. Sugary drinks and sweet treats should be avoided and kept to a minimum.
With the right tools and habits, it can be very manageable to prevent tooth decay. For children who have early signs of tooth decay, work with pediatric dental team to devise a treatment plan. The following are key ways to reduce early tooth decay:
- Fluoride treatment
- Teeth sealants
- Good oral hygiene regimen
- Early and frequent visits to the dentist
One of the best methods of defense against early tooth decay is the use of fluoride. In the early stages, fluoride can even reverse tooth decay by slowing down the mineral loss and strengthening enamel. It also prevents bacteria in the mouth from producing damaging acid.
Drinking fluoridated water can be a great place to start. Many cities have fluoridated public drinking water. Another method for protecting the teeth is by using a fluoridated toothpaste. This aids in protecting against the buildup of plaque and tartar. The dentist can also use a fluoride treatment in the office.
Another method for reducing the risk of early tooth decay and cavities is by using sealants. With sealants, a protective coating is applied to the teeth. This prevents bacteria and plaque from getting stuck on the jagged surfaces of the teeth.
Oral Hygiene Habits
Good oral hygiene for young children includes thoroughly cleaning the teeth. Parents can help to educate and encourage their children to clean their teeth in the morning and before bedtime.
Visit the Dentist
While good oral hygiene is important, it is also critical to regularly visit the dentist. Most dentists suggest a child should visit the dentist before their first birthday. During the initial appointment, the dentist will examine the child's teeth, discuss habits as they apply and review good oral hygiene practices.
Unfortunately, early tooth decay can result in serious, long-term issues. Tooth decay can often be prevented and treated when it is detected early. Maintaining good oral hygiene at home and making regular visits to the dentist help children to maintain a beautiful and healthy smile.