Tooth decay is a serious problem for both adults and children. It can lead to pain, discomfort, gum disease, infections, and difficulty chewing, speaking, and even sleeping.
Children are at a higher risk of developing tooth decay than adults. Since the enamel on young children’s teeth is softer, tooth decay is more likely to occur. Luckily, simple dental care techniques can prevent tooth decay.
Tooth Decay in Toddlers
What causes tooth decay, and why exactly are children more likely to suffer from tooth decay? Tooth decay occurs when germs in the mouth form a plaque on teeth. This plaque produces an acid, which eats away at the tooth’s enamel. Eventually, this causes holes to develop in the teeth. It is these holes that are referred to as cavities.
Since babies and toddlers have softer tooth enamel, it is easier for plaque to eat away at their tooth and for cavities to develop. As children grow, their tooth enamel will harden and tooth decay will become less likely. However, tooth decay can affect anyone of any age, particularly if they don’t follow proper dental care techniques.
Causes of Tooth Decay in Toddlers
There are many things that can contribute to tooth decay in children.
Eating and Drinking: Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar. When kids have sugary sweets or drinks, they can contribute to the growth of plaque and the production of acid that eats away at the teeth. This is why sugar is linked to cavities, tooth decay, and a variety of other dental conditions. Soft drinks and fruit juices are particularly bad.
Improper Oral Care Routine: Brushing and flossing are essential for avoiding tooth decay. Brushing our teeth helps fight plaque and remove pieces of food that can feed bacteria. Even when children are brushing, they often employ the improper technique, which can then lead to tooth decay. This is why parents should help toddlers with brushing their teeth.
Medical Conditions: There are also medical conditions that can contribute to tooth decay. Some medications, such as those used in asthma inhalers, can contribute to tooth decay. As well, medical conditions that cause mouth-breathing, such as allergies or nasal congestion, can reduce salivary flow in the mouth, which then leads to tooth decay.
Child Tooth Decay Treatment Options
When it comes to children's dental care, the most important thing is to prevent cavities and tooth decay before they occur. Children and toddlers should brush their teeth twice a day, once upon getting up and once before going to bed. They should also floss before going to bed. It’s important for parents to help their young children with their teeth cleaning, ensuring they are using the proper techniques and brushing for the right amount of time.
It’s also important to see a pediatric dentist or a general dentist for regular checkups every six months. The dentist will inspect your child’s mouth, perform a cleaning (remove plaque, address other issues), and ensure that they are not developing tooth decay or cavities. As well, if dental problems are present, a dentist can provide treatment before the issues worsen. Dentists can also help teach kids proper dental care techniques.
If your child suffers from a sudden onset of pain or discomfort in their mouth, it’s important to see a children's dentist in Etobicoke immediately. Look for clinics that are able to accommodate your needs and see your children on a timely basis.
Princeview Dental has been a fixture of the Kingsway area in Etobicoke for over 20 years, where we’ve provided dedicated family care in a professional, welcoming, and modern environment. Please call us today at (416)-231-4562.