Early Childhood Tooth Decay: Risks, Signs and Interventions

young girl at the dental clinicTooth decay or dental caries is the bane of preschoolers in Australia, and many parts of the world. When enamel breaks down, holes are created within teeth. Parents of three-year-olds already have to deal with cavities, and when they reach the age of five, it only gets worse.

Your child is at risk

Children with a high diet of starches and sugars. Bacteria in the mouth utilise these food items as their own source of energy. Children whose salivary glands produce less saliva would only harbour bacteria in their mouth.

Inadequate intake of water or unavailability of potable water makes the mouth more conducive for bacterial growth and proliferation. The risk for tooth decay also increases with poor oral care. You should know that plaque, which eats away at the enamel, is produced by bacteria in the mouth.

The thin film is sticky and clings to young teeth easily. Plaque may also be present below the gum line, which if not removed becomes tartar. The presence of tartar only accelerates tooth decay. Because plaque and tartar inhabit all parts of a tooth, decay can occur in any part as well.

A dentist is your child’s best friend

You must not neglect scheduling visits at a dental clinic in Townsville. Early detection of dental caries is a good measure against it. A qualified paediatric dentist can examine the mouth and order x-rays, which will confirm that the problem is present.

As tooth decay worsens, the hole penetrates the dentin or inner layer of the tooth. If the problem is not treated soon, the tooth may be lost. At certain stages of decay, the dentist will determine if the affected tooth is still salvageable, and may be restored using dental fillings.

Early dental care and intervention

young kid having his teeth checked by the dentistSome parents say baby teeth do not matter much; that it is okay if they fall into disrepair. A child with a mouthful of blackened baby teeth would recover, and they can just stop eating candy when the old teeth fall off, and permanent teeth start to grow.

These assumptions are false and endanger a child’s oral health. In truth, baby teeth matter a lot. The development and health of their permanent teeth depend partly on the health of baby teeth. Early caries is a risk among children whose first teeth have already erupted.

As such, oral health must also be a priority for very young children. Parents must realise it is their responsibility to clean the first few teeth thoroughly and regularly. Tooth decay is not always manifested as blackened teeth. Black stumps are already a sign of advanced dental caries.

In the early stage, the problem may manifest as a dull white band along the gum line. White and chalky areas of teeth are already being consumed by plaque. If this sign is present, the family should see a dentist without delay.

Children may neglect to brush their teeth, and remnants of the sweet they eat during the day could be food for bacteria that cause decay. In very young children, milk can pool and the sugar content can fuel the action of bacteria as well.

Tooth decay is very destructive and may lead to loss of teeth if not health with appropriately. Are you taking the necessary precautions against childhood tooth decay?