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5 Signs Of Tooth Decay in Children

Tooth decay (cavities) is the single most common preventable childhood disease in kids. According to the NIH, 42% of kids from the age of 2-11 have had tooth decay in a primary (baby) tooth, and 21% of kids from the age of 6-11 have had tooth decay in a permanent (adult) tooth. 

But what causes tooth decay, how can you recognize it, and what should you do if you think your child has a cavity? In this blog from Dodds Dental in Long Beach, we’ll explain everything you need to know.

What Causes Tooth Decay? 

Tooth decay happens when bacteria in your child’s mouth feed on sugar. As they digest the sugar, they excrete acid. This acid softens and weakens your child’s enamel, the hard and durable outer layer of the tooth. Eventually, this can cause a hole in the tooth, known as a “cavity.”

There are a lot of things that can contribute to tooth decay. Here are just a few of them:

  • A diet high in sugar, starch, and processed foods
  • Frequent snacking throughout the day
  • Improper or insufficient brushing and flossing
  • Drinking water that does not contain fluoride
  • Dry mouth and improper hydration
  • Putting kids to bed with a bottle of milk, juice, or formula

It’s important to note that tooth decay is 100% preventable with the right diet and proper oral hygiene. If you make sure your child’s mouth is healthy, you will never have to worry about cavities.

Recognizing The Top 5 Signs Of Tooth Decay In Kids

Now that you know the basics about how tooth decay works, how can you recognize it and determine if your child should see a dentist? Let’s discuss the top 5 signs of tooth decay in kids now.

  1. Sensitivity to hot and cold – If your child complains of sensitivity to hot drinks like tea or cold foods like ice cream, this could indicate tooth decay. As the tooth weakens, this sensitivity will typically get worse.

  2. Sensitivity to sweets – Sugar can also cause sensitivity, so your child may have decay if their tooth feels sensitive after eating candy or another very sweet food.

  3. Tooth discoloration –  At the beginning, tooth decay usually appears as a white “soft spot” on the surface of the tooth. However, later stages of tooth decay usually cause gray, brown, or black discoloration. This is a sure sign of a cavity.

  4. A visible pit or hole in the tooth – If you can see a visible hole or pit in the tooth, especially accompanied with tooth discoloration, your child certainly has a cavity, and should see a dentist right away for a filling or a dental crown.

  5. Toothache – Tooth pain that won’t go away is a common sign of a deep cavity. Your child’s tooth may even be at risk of becoming infected. This is a more serious oral health condition that will require treatment with root canal therapy.

Come To Dodds Dental  in Long Beach If You Recognize Signs Of Tooth Decay

Tooth decay isn’t a problem you can solve on your own. And, left untreated, it can contribute to serious oral health issues. So if you think your child may have a cavity, don’t wait. Contact Dodds Dental online or give us a call at (562) 439-0754. Dr. Emily and Dr. Dustin Dodds are experienced family dentists, and our team will make your little one feel welcome at our child-friendly office in Long Beach. 

Your dental health is our priority. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

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