Posts for tag: tooth decay
What your dentist in Colorado Springs wants you to know
Cavities caused by tooth decay can happen at any age, but tooth decay is more common and more aggressive in children. A steady diet of sweets and sugary sodas can cause a mouth full of cavities in a very short time. It’s important for you as a parent to be able to recognize signs your child might have a cavity and what to do about it. Dr. Nolan Behr in Colorado Springs, CO wants to share the facts about cavities and your child.
Cavities can happen fast. In fact your child is at risk of tooth decay the minute the first primary tooth erupts in your child’s mouth. That’s why it’s important for your child to visit the dentist within six months of seeing the first tooth erupt, and at least within your child’s first year.
So what are the signs your child may have a cavity? One of the main ones is tooth pain. Tooth pain due to a cavity will usually happen when your child:
- Bites down
- Eats hot or cold foods
- Drinks hot or cold beverages
- Eats sweet foods
There are also non-painful signs and symptoms to look for including:
- White or dark spots on your child’s teeth
- Black or brown stains on your child’s teeth
- Holes, open crevices or cracks on your child’s teeth
You can do a lot to help prevent cavities in your child’s teeth. It’s important to remember to:
- Teach your child about brushing after meals and before bedtime
- Start teaching flossing when your child is about 4 years old
- Make regular visits to the dentist at least yearly for an exam and x-rays
- Make regular visits to the dental hygienist every 6 months for oral hygiene instruction, professional cleanings, and fluoride treatments
When you take care of your child’s dental needs, you are taking an important step to ensuring your child enjoys a healthy, beautiful smile for life. For more information about children’s dental care call Dr. Behr in Colorado Springs, CO today!
Most often, all of your child’s primary teeth will eventually be replaced by permanent teeth, but you shouldn’t consider them less important — there are serious consequences for losing a primary tooth prematurely. Besides providing a means for a child to chew food and speak clearly, primary teeth also save space for the permanent teeth to erupt; a premature loss could lead to malocclusions (bad bites) that may result in costly orthodontic treatment later.
That’s why it’s important to fight tooth decay in primary teeth. By keeping them healthy and in place until it’s time for their departure, their permanent replacements have a better chance of erupting into their proper positions.
Here are 4 tips for preventing tooth decay in primary teeth:
Begin daily oral hygiene when teeth first appear. Begin brushing with fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first primary teeth come in. Brushing removes bacterial plaque, the primary cause of tooth decay, and fluoride strengthens enamel. Because they tend to swallow toothpaste rather than spit it out, use just a smear of toothpaste for infants and toddlers, and a pea-sized amount for ages two and older.
Start regular dental visits by the child’s first birthday. By beginning regular checkups around age 1, we’ll have a better chance of discovering developing tooth decay or other problems early. You’re also setting a good foundation for what should be a lifelong habit for optimum dental health.
Limit sugar consumption. The oral bacteria that cause tooth decay feed on leftover carbohydrates like sugar, so you should limit intake especially between meals. One culprit to watch out for: a bedtime bottle filled with formula, milk or fruit juices, all of which contain carbohydrates (sugar). Water or no bottle at all is a better alternative.
Consider topical fluoride or sealants for extra protection. In some circumstances, we may advise protecting the enamel of newly erupted teeth with an applied sealant. These protective coatings fill in porous pits and fissures in young teeth to deny access to disease. Supplemental fluoride will further strengthen young tooth enamel.
Taking these measures and remaining vigilant to the first signs of decay can go a long way toward preserving your child’s teeth. Their future oral health depends on it.
If you would like more information on dental care for children, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”