Tooth decay is one of the major dental health conditions faced by people today, and tooth decay has more far-reaching effects on our smiles than we realize. Preventing tooth decay is vital for our oral health, and tooth decay in infants and children is often an undiscussed topic. Every child can be at risk of tooth decay, and childhood cavities are some of the most common types of cavities due to the excessive amounts of sugars and acids found in our food. For parents looking for ways to detect tooth decay, we’re here to help. Today, we’ll discuss the early warning signs of tooth decay and what you should do afterward.
Signs of Pediatric Tooth Decay in Infants and Children
About half of children in the US experience at least one decayed tooth throughout their childhood. As one of the biggest dental problems, parents should look for early warning signs so that their children’s teeth can be treated. For those who don’t know, high levels of starch and sugar can contribute to higher levels of streptococcus mutans, the bacteria known to be responsible for tooth decay, and combined with poor oral hygiene practices and no access to fluoride-enriched water, smaller signs of tooth decay can develop, including:
- White Spot Lesions: These spots along the surface of the teeth are marked with discolored shades of enamel and can easily occur from bacteria growth along the surface of the tooth. In infants, these lesions can be caused by pacifiers or sippy cups, and in toddlers, they can be caused by high-sugar diets.
- Temperature sensitivity: Children that easily complain about their food being too hot or cold can be an unspoken sign of tooth decay, especially if it’s often or consistent. It’s important to ask your dentist questions about whether or not they may have other oral health problems that need attention.
- Tooth Discoloration: As the most obvious sign, teeth that are starting to yellow or brown in color are signs of tooth decay. At this point, the bacteria have moved through the enamel and have started eating away at the dentin and inner pulp, which can cause pain, sensitivity, and tenderness throughout the mouth.
Make Sure To Schedule An Appointment Soon!
Always make sure to reinforce good hygiene habits and protect their teeth for life. If their teeth aren’t resolved with changes in diet, brushing, and flossing, visiting your dentist is the best way to treat the issue.