Pediatric Tooth Decay: What to Look For

As a parent, you may have likely heard that childhood tooth decay is a major problem. Childhood cavities are the number one childhood disease. It is also highly preventable. While you do all you can to give your child the best dental care possible, there is a risk that tooth disease can occur. Regular visits to the dentist every six months, and proper at-home flossing and brushing can greatly reduce your child’s risk.

While the most severe cases of decay have noticeable symptoms, the beginnings can be happening inside your child’s mouth without you even noticing.

Preventing cavities and halting the progression of cavities before they get too out of hand is key to helping your child have a healthy, great-looking mouth and smile. Here are some symptoms of pediatric cavities to be on the lookout for:

The tooth can develop a light brown or even a black appearance. Tooth discoloration is often the most readily noticeable symptom of tooth decay. When children get cavities, the affected teeth can have white spots, as well as brown and black. This tooth discoloration is caused from the breakdown of the tooth enamel. The dentin, which is the layer underneath the enamel gives the teeth its white color.. When the enamel gets weak, bacteria, plaque and germs can infiltrate the white dentin layer, destroying it can causing the tooth discoloration.

White spots appear on the tooth. Like when there is an excess of fluoride used, white spots may appear on the teeth due to tooth decay.

Pain in the area around the tooth. If your child is complaining of a toothache or tooth pain, take him or her to the dentist to have the tooth checked out. When there is tooth decay, the tooth enamel is weakened and compromised. The tooth enamel is the hard, translucent outer coating of the tooth that protects the inside components of the teeth. Within each tooth is a series of nerves. When these are exposed, pain can be the result.

Sensitivity to certain foods and drinks. Your child may experience sensitivity to sweet and sour foods as well as overly hot and cold drinks. Tooth decay breaks down the tooth enamel, increasing the exposure of the nerves inside the tooth, causing pain and sensitivity.

Not all symptoms of pediatric tooth decay are visible. If your child is complaining about tooth sensitivity or pain, you should take him or her to their pediatric dentist. In few cases, there may be no visible signs or any painful or uncomfortable symptoms. Only a dental professional can catch these subtle, often unnoticed symptoms of childhood cavities and prescribe the best treatment option to stem off the decay development. Sometimes these unnoticed symptoms may be precursors to forming the decay of teeth and preventative dental treatment will help the child avoid cavities.

Whether or not your child is experiencing any of the symptoms of tooth decay, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist, especially if it has been more than six months since your child’s last dental visit.