Helping your child establish healthy dental hygiene is essential, starting as early as age three. At Lincoln Park Smiles, you can trust our experienced staff to not only help your child maintain healthy teeth through routine cleanings, but we follow effective cavity prevention procedures that ensure your growing child has healthy, cavity-free teeth. To help you better prepare and fight against cavities, it’s important to know their cause, treatment options, and the best ways to prevent damage before it becomes permanent.
Your child’s dental health is important to us! Our experienced dentists and professional staff strive to provide your child with effective cavity prevention that will keep your child cavity-free as their teeth and gums develop.
A cavity is a form of tooth decay that causes permanent damage to your child’s teeth. It can be caused by multiple factors, but most commonly through frequent consumption of sugar and starches, excess bacteria in the mouth, or not brushing effectively enough.
A cavity is caused when your child’s tooth begins to decay due to excess sugar and starches left on the surface of their teeth. If not effectively cleaned, the bacteria will form plaque that can harden above or below the gumline forming tarter and excess buildup. The acid from the tarter begins to wear away the outer enamel, making its way into deeper layers of your child’s tooth and into the dentin. If the cavity persists without treatment, it can make its way beyond the dentin and into the pulp, the most sensitive part of the tooth which contains nerves and blood vessels. Prolonged cavities can grow, causing damage and pain to your child’s teeth if left untreated.
Cavities can cause long-term complications if left untreated. If your child has yet to develop their adult teeth, treatment is still necessary to prevent complications to their permanent teeth. These complications may include:
- Tooth Abscess
- Chewing Problems
- Pus or Swelling Around Teeth
- Broken or Damaged Teeth
While your child may not present any symptoms, it might not mean they are free of cavities. You can help your child prevent cavities by having routine visits, x-rays, and cleanings with our professionals who will identify any abnormalities in your child’s mouth. We’ll provide your child with fluoride treatment and cleanings to remove any excess bacteria to protect their teeth from suffering permanent damage due to cavities.
Keeping your child’s teeth protected starts with proper home care. You can help your child prevent cavities and permanent tooth damage by:
- Limiting sugar and excess sweets.
- Brushing teeth at least twice per day, in the morning and before bedtime.
- Floss to reach between teeth and gums.
- Use fluoride toothpaste to fight off the excess buildup.
- Drink tap water. Public water supply typically contains fluoride.
- Avoid food that gets stuck between teeth.
The best way to identify a cavity in your child’s teeth is to bring them to our dental experts. If you think your child has a cavity, it’s important to check for the following symptoms:
- Toothaches and Sensitivity: If your child continuously suffers from toothaches or has sensitivity when chewing, a cavity might be present. Our experienced dentists and dentist will take a closer look at your child’s teeth to determine if a cavity is present.
- Visible Hole in Tooth: Cavities may not always present pain. If you notice a hole or deep pit in your child’s tooth, follow up with our dental experts, and we’ll evaluate the tooth and provide treatment promptly.
- Tooth Stains: Your child’s teeth should be an even color, but if you notice abnormal stains, reach out to our team. Cavities present themselves with white, brown, or black stains on the surface of the tooth.
Cavities are common in adults and children of all ages. Most commonly caused by excess consumption of sugary foods and bacteria in the mouth, other common risk factors may include:
- Inadequate Brushing: It’s important to remember to brush for at least twice per day or after each meal.
- Fluoride Deficiency: Fluoride is a mineral that’s commonly found in public drinking water, toothpaste, and mouthwash. This ingredient actively fights off decay-causing bacteria and can reverse early signs of tooth damage.
- Location of Tooth: Molars and teeth located in the back of your mouth are known to have my grooves and creases that make them hard to clean. Bacteria can get trapped in these small spaces causing cavities and tooth decay.
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