Do you know that your toddler may have toddler cavities and you might know about them?
Sure the smile of your toddler will light up the room, however, it may be a source of stress.
This is particularly the case then your little one might have a cavity.
While children will eventually lose their primary or baby teeth, taking care of them is important as they hold space for adult teeth.
Dental caries or cavities are common even in baby teeth.
In fact, experts estimate that about 20% of the kids from the age of 2 to 5 may have cavities that do not get treatment.
Keep on reading to learn more about the symptoms your child might experience, the treatment they may need, and how good dental and oral hygiene can help from an early age to protect those pearly whites.
Causes of Toddler Cavities
Cavities or tooth decay are some weak points in an otherwise strong enamel.
Throughout the day, a sticky coating of plaque forms on the teeth.
This traps the sugar from the foods your child eats.
In case there is a substance that your child does not brush off properly, the bacteria in the plaque will release acids.
Moreover, this acid then breaks down the enamel and form holes or cavities in the tooth of your child.
Some of the causes of toddler cavities are as follows:
When your child does not brush their teeth often, then this allows the sugar to sit on the teeth and turn into acid.
Moreover, this acid then attacks the teeth for up to 20 minutes after each snack or meal, no matter what the size.
Some foods can also lead to toddler cavities.
Eating a lot of sugary foods or frequently eating throughout the day often causes acid to build up on the teeth.
This causes the enamel to weaken.
When your toddle sleep with bottles, drinks juice out of it, or uses it as a pacifier, then they may also develop cavities.
Furthermore, decay from the bottles often affects the middle two front teeth.
One of the important things to note is that some toddlers are more prone to cavities than others.
Because they have weaker enamel or some genetic factor that causes this weakness.
These may include low saliva production or tooth shape.
Learn more about The Best Laser in Jumeirah here.
Symptoms and Early Signs of Toddler Cavities
Surprisingly, your child may not show any signs and symptoms of a cavity, particularly when the decay is in the early stages
This is why many pediatric dentists recommend that you should get an appointment for dental checkups for your kids.
Moreover, your dentist can help spot and treat cavities even before they become impossible to treat with a filling.
What are the Early Signs?
Your child may not exhibit any signs of a cavity, however, in other cases, the signs are pretty subtle.
Or your child is unable to articulate them.
While brushing the teeth of your toddler, make it a habit to examine their teeth.
This way you can spot any changes and discuss them with your dentist when you have concerns.
It is important to look out for the following signs:
- white spots on teeth that is the early sign of decay
- discoloration that is often light brown and is also an early sign of a cavity
- sensitivity to hot or cold foods or beverages
- tooth pain or pain around the affected area
Learn more about Root Canal Treatment in Jumeirah here.
Other Symptoms of Toddler Cavities
As the cavity progress, the color may change from light brown to dark brown or even black.
Moreover, along with physical symptoms or pain, your child may show other signs that may not be obvious otherwise.
Some of the other signs and symptoms are:
A toothache may make eating simple snacks and meals to be an unpleasant experience.
After a while, you may observe that your child simply chooses to stop eating some foods due to the discomfort they cause.
In the case of younger toddlers, they may not be able to explain what is wrong with them.
instead, they may cry and be cranky.
Moreover, they may also tug at their ear when they are in pain due to extensive cavities.
Trouble Gaining Weight or Vitamin Deficiencies
When your toddler does not consume enough food or is not eating a balanced diet, they may have trouble gaining weight.
Or getting the right balance of vitamins and minerals can potentially lead to vitamin deficiencies.
Furthermore, when you do not get treatment for a cavity, it leads to the formation of infections.
Some of the signs of an infection are fever and pain, as well as an abscess on the tooth or facial swelling.
Therefore, it is important to talk to your child’s dentist or pediatrician if you have any concerns about infection.
Learn more about Al Wasl Dubai Clinic here.
Taking your Toddler to Dentist
One of the important things to keep in mind is that your child can develop cavities as soon as they get their first baby tooth.
While you might think it is pretty early, the American Dental Association, ADA, recommends that you should take your baby to the dentist by the time their first tooth comes in or by their first birthday.
Moreover, after that first appointment, you should make sure to aim for regular checkups every 6 months, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, AAPD.
However, make sure to head to your dentist sooner if they are complaining of tooth pain or you notice other symptoms.
At the appointment, the dentist will:
- take into consideration their dental history
- take a look at their teeth
- perform a dental X-ray to evaluate the level of decay
After the dentist gets a clear image of the condition, they can proceed with a plan for monitoring the tooth or treating it.
Learn more about Invisalign in Dubai here.
The goal of the cavity treatment is to make sure any damage to the baby teeth or permanent teeth does not get any worse.
Moreover, the treatment depends on the symptoms, age, general health, and the extent of decay your child is experiencing.
Treatment options include:
In case the cavity is in the early stages, your dentist might be able to prevent any further damage by using professional fluoride treatments.
For this, they will use a solution with a high concentration of fluoride to the teeth of your child.
This process will help to repair the enamel and reduce any decay that has already begun.
In order to treat a typical cavity, your dentist will remove the tooth decay with a small drill, during the process of dental fillings.
They will then fill it with a composite or resin material to protect the tooth of your child.
Your dentist will place a dental crown in case of severe tooth decay.
During this procedure, they will remove the decaying portion of the tooth, and replace it with a crown which helps to cover the top of the tooth.
Learn more about Best Implantologist in Dubai here.
Other Treatment Options
Some other extensive treatment options in more severe cases are:
In case the cavity is closer to the nerve, a root canal can help.
This procedure involves removing the infection deep inside the tooth, cleaning it out, and placing a filling or a crown to provide protection.
When there is a severe infection under the tooth, or when the cavity is too big to place a filling or crown, the dentist may recommend pulling or extracting the tooth.
Moreover, your dentist will recommend a dental bridge or a dental implant.
These two can help fill in the space that is left after extraction so that the teeth of your child do not move into the space.
In case your child has dental anxiety, let your dentist know about it.
They can use local anesthesia to numb the area before performing cavity treatments, or general anesthesia for procedures like tooth extractions.
However, if you think that your child may need additional support to ease their mind or pain level during the treatment, check with the office of your dentist to know about options that can help them relax.
Learn more about Best Dentists in Dubai here.
While cavities in children are very common, you can also take steps to prevent them.
Thus, it is important to take certain steps to prevent and even treat tooth decay to avoid pain and loss of affected teeth.
Moreover, it can also help prevent issues that affect the growth, speech, and overall well-being and self-esteem of your child.
Wipe the gums of your baby with a clean, damp washcloth after feeding them.
Gently brush with the help of a baby toothbrush and add a tiny amount of toothpaste at the first sign of baby teeth.
Brush their teeth twice a day and use floss once a day for your toddler and older children.
With the help of fluoride toothpaste and fluoridated tap water to brush, you can prevent toddler cavities.
Learn more about Dental Fillings in Dubai here.
Diet and ental Care for your Toddler
In order to prevent cavities and stop them from progressing deep into the teeth, you can take certain steps.
Let’s discuss them as follows:
It is important to reduce the number of sweets and snacks your child eats.
Avoid putting them to bed with food or a bottle that contains anything other than water.
Moreover, encourage your child to drink from a regular cup as soon as it is practicable.
This can help reduce the amount of liquid that collects around their teeth.
Make sure to see an Arabic female dentist for regular checkups and professional cleanings before your baby turns 1 and as early as 6 months of age.
Furthermore, consider getting dental sealants.
It is a plastic layer that helps protect the teeth of your child from food particles and plaque development.
Learn more about Implant in Dubai here.
Wrapping it Up
Toddler cavities are common, both in baby and permanent teeth. Certain factors like poor hygiene and a high diet in sugary foods can raise their risk for cavities.
Treatment for such cavities includes removing the decaying part and protecting it from further damage with a filling, crown, root canal, or in rare cases, tooth extraction.
Moreover, creating good brushing and flossing habits, encouraging a healthy diet, and scheduling regular dental checkups are ways you can prevent toddler cavities.