Children and Tooth Decay!

Author: Dr Aushi Patel

Nothing is more important than your child’s health and wellbeing. Did you know the gateway to their general health is their mouth? Oral and overall health are linked to one another. At Anokhi Dental we offer a holistic approach to your child’s oral health.

We know that the condition of your child’s dental health is important for more than just a beautiful smile. It also plays a crucial role in their speech, breathing, facial growth, development, self-esteem, and systemic health. If a tooth is compromised by decay, disease, or injury, it can have lasting complications.

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay is the breakdown, or destruction, of tooth enamel. Enamel is the hard outer surface of a tooth. Tooth decay can lead to cavities. These are holes that can develop in baby and adult teeth.

What causes tooth decay in children?

Tooth decay is caused by certain bacteria in the mouth. It develops when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) are left on the teeth. These foods include things like milk, soft drinks, dried fruit, lollies, cake, fruit juices, cereals, and bread. Bacteria that normally live in the mouth change these foods, making acids. The combination of bacteria, food, acid and saliva form a substance called plaque that sticks to the teeth. Over time, the acids made by the bacteria eat away at the tooth enamel, causing cavities.

Sibling brushing teeth together

Symptoms of tooth decay in children

The symptoms of tooth decay and cavities vary from child to child. Cavities don’t always cause symptoms. Sometimes children don’t know they have one until their dentist finds it. But your child may feel pain in the area around the tooth and sensitivity to certain foods, such as sweets and hot or cold drinks.

How is tooth decay diagnosed for children?

Dental check-ups and teeth cleaning for children

Once your child’s teeth start to come in, we recommend bringing them in for a check-up and cleaning at least once every six months. At these appointments, we’ll gently examine their teeth, gums, and development of their bite before giving them a dental cleaning. A digital x-ray may be required. Afterward, we’ll talk to you and your child about the basics of dental care and prevention so your child can start to form healthy habits that will serve them well into adulthood. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have as well.  Sometimes your child may need further dental treatment.  Keep reading to learn about children’s dental treatments at Anokhi Dental.

What kind of treatments might be offered to children if tooth decay is found at a dental check-up? 

1.     Dental Sealants

Dental sealants help protect the most vulnerable areas of the teeth from developing decay. They are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth because these trap the most plaque and are the hardest to clean. We simply paint on an extremely thin layer of a tooth-coloured protective coating, and it quickly hardens into a barrier that food particles, bacteria, and acids cannot penetrate. They only take a few minutes to apply but can provide up to a decade of effective cavity prevention.

2.     Tooth-Coloured Fillings

While our primary goal is to stop cavities from forming in the first place, they can still pop up for small children for a number of reasons, such as a lack of consistent brushing and a love of sugary treats/drinks. In any case, tooth-coloured fillings enable us to repair minor cavities in just one appointment using a solution that’s designed to blend seamlessly into the smile. These fillings are made of a safer, BPA and fluoride free composite resin that we can shade to perfectly match your child’s tooth enamel, rather than the older mercury amalgam fillings that some of us may remember from when we were kids! At Anokhi Dental we are a mercury free and mercury safe practice.

3.     Metal-Free Dental Crowns

Children’s teeth sometimes need crowns. Crowns are shaped to look and function just like natural teeth, restoring the original shape and strength of the enamel at the same time. At Anokhi Dental, we offer the option of ceramic crowns because of their lifelike appearance and reliable durability. With them, you get a fully repaired tooth that looks like nothing was ever wrong with it in the first place.

Prevention and Good Oral Practices for Home

  • Make oral care fun and support your child!

  • Ensure your child is brushing their teeth thoroughly both morning and night with a soft toothbrush.

  • Encourage your child to get into the habit of flossing daily.

  • Limit sugary drinks and food (this includes dried fruit).

  • Ensure 6 monthly check ups and cleans.  Bring any questions you have with you to this visit.

We would love to welcome your children into our caring holistic practice.  To make an appointment please book online at www.anokhidental.com.au or call 02 9264 5195.

Father and son cleaning teeth with dental floss

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