Childhood tooth decay occurs through the same process as adult tooth decay. Specifically, poor oral hygiene, weak enamel or caustic food substances etch tooth enamel and create weaknesses, or dental caries, that eventually become cavities.
The distinction between decay in baby teeth and adult teeth often lies in how the decay begins. Adult teeth generally have stronger enamel, and adults tend to have better, more well-established oral hygiene routines.
Childhood tooth decay can begin due to:
Your child may be more or less likely to develop tooth decay based on a number of health and environmental factors. For example, children with weaker immune systems may have more cavities, and children in areas with fluoridated water may have fewer cavities.
While the causes of childhood and adulthood tooth decay are the same, the risks are often significantly greater when tooth decay appears in children. Many adults have the immune system strength to minimise the intensity of any infections or other complications to some extent.
Children with tooth decay, especially tooth decay that goes untreated as their adult teeth come in, are at risk of:
While these threats usually appear only in situations where childhood tooth decay is left unaddressed over a long period of time, decay can also cause persistent discomfort for your child.
As with most dental conditions, childhood tooth decay responds best to preventative care. Your child should see a dentist regularly starting at no later than age three.
The treatment for existing tooth decay depends on the extent of the damage. Because the body constantly produces new enamel, especially in healthy children, some children can easily recover from dental caries with the right diet and oral hygiene.
However, more serious cavities may require fillings, caps or even removal of the infected teeth.
If you have more questions about childhood tooth decay and how this condition could impact your child, discuss your concerns with a reputable paediatric dentist .
Regardless of your or your child's dental history, it's important to schedule regular cleanings and exams. These exams provide the opportunity for early detection of childhood tooth decay and other serious conditions as well as preventative treatment that can keep your child smiling.
Bring your child to Family Dental Care to ensure that he or she receives the dental care necessary for a lifetime of healthy teeth in a friendly, comfortable environment.
As a responsible parent, you do your best to ensure your children eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet. You limit their sweet intake. You watch their portion sizes. And you encourage them to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
But did you know that your loving efforts could damage your children's teeth?
Though fruits may seem like a delicious way to ensure your kids eat enough vitamins, they can also lead to cavities and dental decay in the following ways.
1. Dried Fruit Sticks to Teeth
Dried fruit and fruit leather extend the shelf life of your favourite fruit-based snacks, and the dehydration process concentrates some of the fruit's nutrients.
But before you stock up on dried fruit snacks, remember that a dried piece of fruit measures at a fraction of the size of a fresh one, yet it still contains the same number of calories and sugar. As a result, you and your kids may eat a much larger serving size before you start to feel full.
Furthermore, dried fruit tends to stick to teeth. The concentrated sugars stay on teeth for much longer, feeding the bacteria in your mouth and leading to plaque build-up.
2. Canning Syrups Contain Lots of Corn Syrup
Canned fruit lasts much longer than fresh fruit, so you can purchase an entire case of canned fruits without fear of mould growth any time soon.
But to extend shelf life, many manufacturers drench and package the fruit with corn syrups. Even 'light' syrup contains extra sugars, as the description usually refers to the consistency rather than the sugar content. You can bet that these sugars won't do your teeth any favours.
If you regularly enjoy canned fruits, check the label for 'no added sugar' or '100% fruit juice'.
3. Juices Have Lots of Natural Sugars
If you own a juicing machine, you may make your own juices for your kids. The juices come from fresh fruit, and you don't add any extra sugars, sweeteners or syrups to your personal mix. So you might feel safe feeding it to your hungry, growing children.
But even natural, fresh fruit contains a lot of sugar. One medium-sized apple may contain as much as 19 grams of sugar. And to yield just one cup of juice, you need approximately three medium-sized apples. When you add juice from pineapples, grapes or pears to the mix, you may have more sugar in your juice than you'd find in a typical bar of milk chocolate.
4. Citric Acids Eat Away at Enamel
To avoid the extra sugars, you may choose to skip the dried, canned and juiced fruits and simply opt for fresh, raw fruit. Surely, you can serve up orange slices and strawberry bites without hurting your teeth.
Unfortunately, most fruits include varying amounts of citric acid. This acid measures at a 2.2 on the pH scale. As your mouth needs a pH balance higher than 7.0 to resist cavities, anything lower than a 5.5 pH can eat away and dissolve your teeth's enamel, leaving them vulnerable to decay.
Experts have found that lemons and grapefruit, in particular, have high amounts of citric acid, so they tend to do more damage. But even non-citrus fruit, such as cherries, apples, peaches and plums contain small amounts of citric acid (100 grams of cherries have about 0.1 grams citric acid).
Don't Worry-You Can Still Eat Fruit!
Dried, canned, juiced and citric fruits can wreak havoc on your teeth when you or your children eat them in excess. However, you can still enjoy raw fruit without worrying about cavities.
Raw, fresh fruit has plenty of fibre to promote saliva production and scrub away harmful bacteria. Furthermore, fruit such as cumquats, blackcurrants, figs and blackberries all offer plenty of calcium, which improves tooth retention.
Just remember to brush and floss 30 to 60 minutes after you eat a serving of fruit, and encourage your children to do the same to minimise the damage. And don't forget to schedule an appointment with your dentist on a semi-annual basis.
When you go to the dentist, you may hear a lot of words you don't use in everyday life. But in order to keep your mouth healthy and your smile
bright, you need to understand the right terminology to communicate effectively with your dentist.
Below, we'll quiz you on the possible definitions of 10 common terms. Take the quiz to test your dental knowledge, then scroll to the end to learn
the correct answers. Parents, feel free to work through this quiz with your younger children to help them learn more about their dental health.
A. A tooth's top
B. The space left by a lost tooth
C. A hole in a tooth made by decay
D. A crack in a tooth
A. The hard outside part of your teeth
B. The soft inside part of your teeth
C. The space between two teeth
D. Another name for a tooth
A. A rinse that fills up your mouth
B. A small plug that repairs damaged teeth
C. The mirror your dentist uses to look at your teeth
D. The act of putting toothpaste on your brush
A. The pink tissue that supports your teeth
B. A condition that affects the connective tissue in your mouth
C. Professional dental floss
D. The bumps on your tongue
A. Tooth loss
B. The act of a new tooth emerging
C. A condition where a tooth faces the wrong direction
D. Removal of a tooth by your dentist
A. The tissue connected to your tongue
B. The coating on your dental floss
C. The precise tool your dentist uses to clean your teeth
D. Sticky food residue and bacteria that build up on your teeth
7. Primary Teeth
A. Teeth that look discoloured
B. Your upper teeth
C. Your farthest back teeth
D. Your first teeth
A. A thin plastic coating used to prevent tooth damage
B. Another name for toothpaste
C. The polishing cream your dentist uses
D. The tool your dentist uses to collect excess moisture
9. Secondary Teeth
A. Your bottom teeth
B. Your four front teeth
C. The teeth that grow in as you grow up
D. The biggest teeth in your mouth
A. Hard build-up on your teeth that can cause damage
B. Foods that are bad for your teeth
C. Any discolouration on a tooth
D. A name for teeth that haven't grown in yet
1. C. Bacteria attack the outside of your teeth when you don't brush. Over time, bacteria can create little holes known as cavities.
2. A. The part of your teeth you can see is called enamel. This hard outer layer protects the sensitive tissue inside your teeth.
3. C. To fix a cavity, your dentist 'fills' it with a small plug made of metal or ceramic.
4. B. Your gums, or the pink tissue that supports your teeth, can contract a condition known as gingivitis. Gingivitis makes your gums sensitive and
5. C. Before your teeth grow in, they sit under your gums. Sometimes these teeth face the wrong way, which is called impaction.
6. D. When you don't brush, residue from food builds up on your teeth. This residue is known as plaque.
7. D. Your baby teeth, or primary teeth, come in first.
8. A. To decrease the risk of cavities, your dentist may put sealant on them. This creates a barrier between your teeth and harmful bacteria.
9. C. When your primary teeth fall out, your secondary teeth replace them.
10. A. If you don't get rid of plaque, it becomes tartar. This build-up feels hard and can't be removed through brushing alone.
How did you do?
1 to 5 Correct - Beginner: You have more to learn about your teeth and their health. Luckily, your dentist or parents can help explain any
terms you don't know yet.
6 to 8 Correct - Intermediate: You're well on your way to dental health prowess. Keep brushing!
9 to 10 Correct - Expert: Not only do you know quite a bit about your smile, but you also won't have any trouble communicating withyour dentist.
You have multiple options available to improve your understanding of your oral health. Start by scheduling your next dentist appointment.
Then, visit our blog for more information.
When you have young kids, it might feel like a struggle to keep up with your children's doctor's appointments, daily routines and healthy habits. It's easy to let certain things slide, like encouraging your kids to brush their teeth before bed.
However, oral hygiene should top your list of things to help your kids with. Your children will have a lifelong relationship with their teeth. And even though baby teeth eventually fall out, they play an important role in your child's life. These early years teach your kids good habits with brushing and flossing, and the baby teeth save space for adult teeth to grow in properly.
So how can you help your child practice good oral hygiene and prepare for their first dental visit? We'll let you know in our blog below. With some simple preparation, you can set your children up for a lifetime of good health.
Practice Hygiene While They're Young
The sooner you start taking care of your kids' teeth, the sooner they'll learn to make good oral hygiene a habit. You can do certain things while your kids are young that will help their teeth stay healthy for life.
Clean Your Babies' Teeth
Start cleaning your babies' mouths as early as possible. Even before they have teeth, you can wipe their gums with a soft damp cloth every night before they go to bed. Once their teeth do come in, use a soft-bristled infant-sized toothbrush and water to gently clean their teeth each day. This will get them used to cleaning their teeth, which encourages good habits and prepares them for visits to the dentist.
Discourage Sucking Habits
Kids have a natural urge to suck. But while this urge helps them drink milk when they're young, it can lead to problems later if it causes them to suck their thumbs. Most kids stop sucking their thumbs sometime between ages two and four. However, if the habit continues after their permanent teeth come in, it can cause palate and alignment problems.
If your children suck their thumbs often or aggressively, discourage the habit while they're still toddlers. This way, the dentist will never have to intervene.
Make the First Appointment Early
Your children should visit the dentist sooner than you might think. Shortly after their first teeth come in, you need a good dentist to see them for a visit.
Do some research about dentists in your area and find one who specialises in paediatric dentistry . You can also ask other parents for recommendations. While you might feel inclined to take your kids to your own dentist, they'll do better with someone who treats children all the time and knows how to make them feel comfortable.
Prepare Your Children
Once you've found the right dentist and made the first appointment, prepare your children for the visit.
Introduce Them to the Dentist
Ask your kids' dental office if they offer tours. If so, take your kids in before their appointment to meet the dentist and look around the office. Your kids will get to see what the tools look like and they'll become familiar with the staff.
Explain What Will Happen
Before you go in for the actual exam, explain the process to your children. Talk about how the dentist will use special tools to count and clean their teeth. Your kids will have a better experience if they know what to expect.
Provide an Incentive
Incentivise your children to sit patiently through their visit and cooperate with the dentist. Offer them a special toy or a day trip if they behave well and have clean, healthy teeth.
Your children's first dental visits don't have to be a struggle. Start prepping them early and find a good paediatric dentist in your area to give your kids a positive first experience and good lifelong habits.
A healthy mouth leads to a healthy body. Many germs and bacteria enter through your mouth, but if you keep your mouth clean you can fight off these harmful invaders.
Here's a quick review on the best way to fight disease and maintain good oral hygiene.
The most important part of your daily dental care routine is brushing your teeth. Dentists around the world agree that to keep your mouth its cleanest, you should brush at least twice a day.
Knowing when to brush is the first step in effective brushing. You've probably heard that brushing after meals helps you remove the food from your meal. But if you brush after eating certain foods, you may remove more than food when brushing.
Certain foods soften the tooth enamel, the protective outer layer of the tooth. When you brush your teeth immediately after eating these foods, you risk removing part of this dense layer of protection. If your meal consisted of sugary or acidic foods, wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth. This gives your mouth time to restore its pH balance and fight disease-causing bacteria.
Furthermore, it's important that you carefully brush each surface of your tooth. As a rule of thumb, spend at least two minutes brushing, focusing at least half a minute on each section of the mouth: top, bottom, left and right.
Other important considerations when brushing include:
Age of your toothbrush
Angle you hold the brush
Softness of your brush bristles
Type of tooth paste
If you need a refresher on the best brushing techniques, don't hesitate to ask your dentist.
While brushing may clean most areas of the teeth, the toothbrush cannot reach the spaces between your teeth. To effectively prevent plaque and tartar buildup, you need to floss. Like brushing, you need to floss regularly. Not only will flossing help to eliminate bacteria, plaque and tartar, it also promotes healthy gums.
To floss properly, wrap a length of floss around the middle fingers on your hands. Then, using your pointer fingers, gently guide the floss between each tooth. Run the floss along the front and backs of each tooth. As you move between teeth, adjust your floss to clean with a fresh section.
Brushing and flossing are the most important part of your oral hygiene , but you can take additional steps to ensure your mouth stays healthy. Rinsing with a mouthwash, for example, can kill many germs that live in your mouth.
Before you rinse, carefully read the instruction on the package, as the directions may vary between products. Generally speaking,however, you will swish a small amount of the liquid in your mouth for 30 to 60 seconds. After this, gargle the liquid and spit it in the sink (do not swallow).
Depending on how accustomed you are to gargling mouthwash, you may need to work up to the recommended time. And if you have sensitivity to mouthwash, use water. Simply drinking water after a meal can help remove leftover foods that cling to your teeth.
Schedule a Dentist Visit
The most important part of your overall dental care is to schedule a visit with your dentist. Making and keeping biannual dental appointments can help you catch problems before they become major issues.
During your biannual dental appointment, you will receive a thorough cleaning and speak with your dental care provider about your individual needs. Your dentist will give you tailored advice on how to keep your mouth happy and healthy.
If you haven't met with your dentist for more than six months, schedule your visit today.