Why tooth decay occurs in children

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Tooth decay can be a problem not only for adults, but also for children. Dental caries in children must be prevented or, as the case may be, treated responsibly.

All children are at risk of developing tooth decay, but certain situations can increase this risk. High levels of bacteria in the oral cavity, a diet rich in sugar and starches, a water source that has no fluoride at all, less than normal saliva production and, last but not least, poor oral hygiene favor the appearance of tooth decay in children.

Dental caries in children: causes and symptoms

Bacteria are the major cause of tooth decay in children, but there are other factors that influence their occurrence. When foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starch) are eaten and remain on the teeth, bacteria turn them into acids. The combination of bacteria with food, acids and saliva forms plaque, which adheres to the surface of the teeth. Over time, the tooth enamel deteriorates, which leads to the appearance of cavities.

If small white spots appear on the child’s teeth, it means that the enamel is already damaged in those areas, which could lead to the formation of cavities. If light brown spots appear on the teeth, these are already incipient caries.

The treatment depends on the severity of the caries and the age of the child

In most cases, the treatment for tooth decay in children is simple and involves removing the portion of the affected tooth and replacing it with a filling. Modern dental fillings (fillings) are generally made of durable, tooth-colored materials (composites, compomers, glass ionomers). The durability of fillings depends on oral hygiene, regular visits to the dentist for scaling and bruxism (teeth grinding). For children who suffer from bruxism, it is recommended to use mouthguards, made at the dentist.

In rarer cases, dental caries in children may require a somewhat more complex treatment, which involves the fitting of crowns.

How to prevent tooth decay in children

  • It is good for parents to limit the consumption of sweets by the little ones.

  • Children should be taught to rinse their mouth and teeth thoroughly after consuming foods such as milk, fruit juice, candies, cereals, dried fruit or bread.

  • Parents should make sure that the little ones brush their teeth with a fluoride paste twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. For children younger than 3 years, it is recommended to use a small amount of toothpaste, the size of a grain of rice, and for those over 3 years, the size of a pea.

  • After the age of 3, the little ones will be taught to use dental floss.

Read more about tooth decay in children:

Correct dental care for little ones from A to Z

Sweet snacks affect children’s teeth despite brushing