ooth decay in children is one of the most common health complaints in children around the world. In fact, it's the third most common reason for children to be admitted in a hospital.
The love of sweet foods, the increase of sugar in our regular diets, and poor oral hygiene in children ever increases the risk of tooth decay in children and young adults.
Some societies are able to help minimize such a risk by the distribution of fluorinated water.
Frequent intake of sugar-rich food is the one observed to be the main cause of tooth decay in children; something that's so hard to control when it comes to kids. Candies, chocolates, ice-creams, lollipops, and more candies is part of what they think is fun but is devastating to their teeth.
And this goes without saying that children who are addicted to sweets are the common sufferers of tooth decay and toothache.
Small holes of cavities form on the outer surface of the teeth, these usually form when the hard dental tissues of the teeth collapse.
Bacteria generally reside on the surface of the teeth and get their nourishment from the food and drinks that a person ingests. With continual nourishment (without regular elimination or cleaning), bacteria produce acids that affect the coating of the teeth which is also known as the "enamel".
The tooth enamel offers the protection that protects the tooth from possible harm. When it is damaged by the acids that are produced by the bacteria, decay is inevitable!
This is why children who eats a lot of sweets and don't brush their teeth constantly often ends up with tooth decay and suffer from the ache that results from the infection. A child may suffer from acute toothache when the center of the tooth is damaged.
Symptoms may vary depending on the extent of the damage or infection of the tooth decay and determining preliminary symptoms from milk teeth can be a challenging task.
Toothache is the most common sign of tooth decay but would usually only occur when the tooth has already been "invaded" so expect that there may have already been a serious damage to the tooth when a child experiences toothache.
Sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks, as well as to very sweet food may also be an indication of a decay.
Other symptoms of tooth decay in children may only be evident at a later stage when the surrounding nerve tissues are infected; fever, inflammation of jaw, and pain may be present.
As dental professionals, we believe that prevention is better than cure and if you're a parent, we think that you agree with this. However, if your child is already experiencing tooth decay, then the only thing we can offer is cure and no longer prevention.
There are ways to prevent the occurrence of tooth decay in your children, and the utmost preventive measure that we'd recommend is to bring your children to your dentist for regular check-ups. Make sure that you have your child's teeth examined by a dentist every six months or a year at the least.
This way, your dentist can suggest whether or not a cleaning is required to help ward off the possibilities of a tooth decay.
Regular brushing can also help ward off bacterial build-up on the tooth, acid builds up slowly but if your child can't brush as fast as they form, he or she might be a candidate for future mouth-aches and decay.
The formation of acids may lead to plaque and later, tartar, if not prevented. This will damage the tooth enamel. Remember, when the tooth enamel is damaged, the tooth losses any form of protection to possible harm.
Milk teeth has thine enamel compared to permanent teeth, this leaves them very vulnerable to tooth decay; reason why tooth decay is more common to children that to adults. Another reason why kids need to visit their dentists more to reduce the risk of tooth decay and infections.
Another way to minimize the chances of having tooth decays, is to avoid or minimize the consumption of sweets and starchy foods. This is almost impossible for young kids so it's up to the parent to make sure that such foods are minimized if not eliminated from their children's diet. Giving them milk or cheese every after meal also helps strengthen their teeth.
Water as universal solvent would also help in warding-off tooth decay in children especially when it's fluorinated. So let it flow and let your kids drink a whole bunch of water.
Lastly, the most basic way of combating tooth decay in children is good oral hygiene. Regular brushing and flossing helps minimize the acids present on your kid's teeth. A clean teeth isn't only shiny-white, but is also protected from such a disease. If possible, use only toothpaste with fluoride and buy new brushes every two months or so.