A Parent's Guide To Childhood Tooth Decay


You likely think of cavities and gingivitis as adult problems. But unfortunately, tooth decay is extremely common in children. This article gives you the basics you need to know to protect your child's oral health.

Decay Now Affects Your Child's Permanent Teeth

When you notice a childhood cavity, you may decide not to worry because your child will eventually lose that tooth. But decay doesn't just affect a single tooth, it can also impact the connective tissues and bone in the mouth. If you child suffers from extensive tooth decay in primary teeth, his or her adult teeth may not erupt normally.

Additionally, decay can cause pain and infection. If your child is still in early stages of development, tooth decay could make it more difficult for him or her to eat or speak normally. Over time, the bacteria that cause tooth decay can become even more dangerous, encouraging heart disease and other chronic illnesses.

Odds are, Your Child Already Has Some Decay

Studies performed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that tooth decay is by far one of the most common childhood illnesses. The CDC reports that approximately 42% of children ages 2 to 11 have decay in baby teeth, while 21% of children ages 6 to 11 have cavities in adult teeth.

Luckily, most childhood tooth decay can be prevented or treated by conscientious parents guided by pediatric dentistry professionals.

Prevention and Treatment are Crucial

To prevent decay, you must begin caring for your child's gums in infancy and his or her teeth as they appear. In the early stages, you can do this by teaching good oral hygiene.

By age three, your child should have his or her first dentist's appointment. Most experts recommend scheduling an exam around the same time as your child's first birthday, especially if he or she already has developed baby teeth.

As your child grows, encourage daily brushing and flossing. Supplement your child's daily routine in the following ways:

  • Ask about sealants: Dentists can apply a protective layer of specially engineered plastic, known as sealant, over your child's most at-risk teeth. 
  • Invest in a fluoridated toothpaste: Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel. Brushing as recommended with fluoridated toothpaste can reduce your child's vulnerability to tooth decay.

As you evaluate your child's oral health, work with a pediatric dentist, like those at A Wild Smile. Professional cleaning, advice, and proactive treatment represent an essential part of defending your child's smile in the long run.

About Me

FAQs About Pregnancy and Dental Health

During pregnancy, expectant mothers have to deal with a host of changes to their bodies. I was surprised to learn that part of those changes is to your dental health. I was not aware that hormonal changes could mean an increased risk of gum infection and other dental problems. Luckily for me, my dentist was prepared to handle any problems that I experienced during my pregnancy. I created this blog to help other expectant mothers understand the changes that their dental health could experience throughout their pregnancies and the possible ramifications those changes could have on their pregnancies and the health of their unborn children.

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