Early Childhood Cavities
An early childhood cavity is one of the most common dental problems for children under the age of six. It is also one of the most preventable. At Arlington Pediatric Dentistry, we specialize in several preventive and restorative treatments that address this issue before greater complications arise.
According to the CDC, early tooth decay affects roughly 20 percent of young children. With our guidance as pediatric specialists, you can help your child stay out of this category. The following information will help you better understand early childhood cavities.
What Causes Early Childhood Cavities?
Dental caries, commonly referred to as tooth decay, is caused by the buildup of plaque, the thin biofilm that constantly forms on and around the teeth. Plaque contains harmful bacteria that feed off simple carbohydrates like sugar. As they feed, these bacteria produce acids that attack the enamel, which results in tooth decay.
Your child may be more susceptible to early cavities due to certain risk factors, some of which include:
||Lack of professional care: If your child has not seen a dentist yet, tooth decay is imminent.
||Baby bottle tooth decay: Putting your child to bed with a bottle that contains anything but water can result in significant decay.
||Lack of oral hygiene: The American Dental Association (ADA) wants parents to know that teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they appear. Be sure to implement an oral hygiene regimen after feedings.
||Genetics: Unfortunately, some children are more vulnerable to tooth decay due to hereditary issues.
Preventing Early Childhood Cavities
Prevention is a large part of pediatric dentistry. The best way to prevent early childhood cavities is with a strong oral hygiene routine, even before the first teeth erupt. You can clean an infant’s gums with water and a wet washcloth.
After the teeth appear, brush your child’s teeth at least twice a day, especially after meals and before bed. It would help if you used a toothbrush designed specifically for children and fluoridated toothpaste. Once your child is old enough to brush on their own, be sure they implement the proper techniques.
Flossing once a day is also a crucial step in preventing cavities. Flossing allows you or your child to remove food debris and plaque from in between the teeth. These areas usually remain unaffected by a toothbrush.
Finally, be sure to schedule regular appointments with us. Routine exams and professional cleanings are a vital part of keeping harmful bacteria at bay. The ADA recommends scheduling their first appointment as soon as their baby teeth begin to erupt.
Treatment for Early Childhood Cavities
If Dr. Justin Smith diagnoses your child with early childhood tooth decay, the next step is developing an appropriate treatment plan. Cavities in the primary (baby) teeth are usually treated with dental fillings. Extensive decay may require a more advanced restoration.
Significant tooth decay may result in an infection within the tooth. In this case, we may also need to perform a root canal. After the root canal, we might also suggest a dental crown, which protects the tooth from further damage.
Schedule an Appointment
Protect your child’s oral health with regular visits! Call 360-657-1650 to schedule an appointment today!