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Early Childhood Cavities

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 9, 2017

   5 min     


Oral health problems are a major health issue not only among adults but also among children. And, if you find your baby is too young to visit a dentist, you can be wrong. Baby's teeth are at risk before even eating his first chocolate. Oral health is an integral part of overall health and well being and can not be neglected. Negligence towards oral health and hygiene leads to various health complications like cavities, tooth decay etc. and can do permanent damage to the body. 

What are dental baby cavities?

Tooth decay starts with a group of germs called mutans streptococcus. These germs feed on sugar and produce acid that eats away teeth by depleting calcium- said by experts. These germs create a yellowish film that builds up on teeth and contains enamel eroding acid. When the area without calcium becomes big enough, the layer of tooth collapses, which is called a cavity. Cavity is a hole that forms in the mouth and can grow bigger over time. The cavities usually start small and grow bigger with time if left untreated. Dental cavity is one of the most common oral health problems across people of all ages, including babies. 

If care is not taken at the proper time, the cavities can progress to some serious oral health issues and complications. Babies get born without any harmful germs in their mouth. But in some cases, babies get affected, when you transfer saliva into your child's mouth-

  • When you repeatedly eat from the same spoon with your baby
  • And, also when you let your kids brush their teeth with your toothbrush

If parents have cavities, they can pass it to cavities in kids. Baby teeth can quickly get cavities and other dental infections if oral hygiene is not maintained. The fact that most children have a sweet tooth increases the risk of cavity formation even more. It is hence crucial to take proper steps to prevent early childhood cavity formation.  

Causes of cavities in children

Some of the most common reasons for which children develop cavities are: 

  • Lack of oral hygiene: Children who do not brush regularly are highly prone to developing cavities. 
  • Poor dietary intake: Excessive consumption of sugary and acidic food items like candies, cola, sweets etc. is a leading cause of cavity formation. 
  • Feeding during bedtime: Having food or milk just before sleeping also makes the teeth more prone to cavities as the milk or food remains stuck and bacteria act upon it all night.
  • Nocturnal breastfeeding: It increases the risk of the cavity for the same reason. 
  • Lack of fluoride: If the teeth do not receive sufficient quantities of fluoride, it may also cause cavities. 
  • Dry mouth: It also leads to cavities. 

Symptoms of Cavities 

Though cavities do not show any symptoms in the early stage, you should always lookout for the following signs:

  • Sensitive tooth: If the children feel pain on eating or drinking hot or cold food items, it may be a sign of a cavity. 
  • Pain in the teeth: It is another common symptom of dental cavity. The pain may either be mild or severe and unbearable depending on the extent of the damage.  
  • Stains: Black or white staining of the teeth is another sign you should look out for. 
  • Visible hole: The cavity can also be observed as a visible hole in the teeth. 

How to get rid of cavities?

The treatment procedure depends on the severity of the condition, health of the child, and other such factors. Some of the most commonly adopted treatment procedures are: 

  • If the cavities are detected early, a fluoride treatment may be sufficient.
  • Tooth fillings are one of the most preferred ways of cavity treatment. For this, the dentist will remove the damaged or decayed part of the teeth and fill it with materials like gold, silver, resin etc. 
  • If the decay is severe, dental crowns may be used for treatment. 
  • In case of extreme decay-causing death of nerves, the dentist may recommend a root canal treatment.

Impact of early cavities:

  • Early childhood cavity can cause significant damage to permanent teeth.
  • Alters facial structure and disrupts the jawline.
  • It could hinder the tongue as well causing staggering of speech.
  • It can psychologically affect the child as well due to teeth impartment, smile deformities, and lowered self-confidence.

Prevention of cavities

Keeping in mind, the severe impact cavities can have, steps must be taken to prevent the formation of cavities. The following steps can help minimize the risk of cavities in children: 

  • Maintaining oral health: This is the most crucial step that you can take to prevent the formation of cavities. Brushing the teeth twice a day, flossing, using mouthwash etc. as recommended by your dentist is the best way to avoid tooth deterioration. 
  • Diet: the food that the child eats has a huge impact on the formation of the cavity. Eating raw fruits and vegetables also helps in cleaning the teeth and prevents cavity formation. 
  • Sugar: Limiting sugar intake is also very important. Though children love sweets and candies, put a limit on the number of candies or chocolates, the child is allowed to eat. 
  • Regular dental checkup: It is essential not just for the child, but for the entire family. Early detection of cavities is very important for the treatment procedure, and hence it is important to get your child checked up regularly by a dentist. 

When should your child see a dentist?

Most of the parents don't know when to consult a dentist for their baby. Not all paediatricians notice babies oral health. One should ask a dentist from baby's first birthday, so that you can easily spot the plaque buildup along the top gum line, and measure bacteria levels through culture.

Talk to your dentist for more!!

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Tags:  oral hygiene ,cavities,cavities in kids, oral health, cavities in toddlers

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