Did you know that cavities are common in children? About 42% of 2- to 11-year-olds have at least one cavity. Even preschoolers can get cavities! It’s important to recognize the common signs and symptoms of cavities in children so that you can take action, fast. Knowing what to look for is the best way to ensure your child’s oral health remains intact. This article will discuss some of the most common signs that your child has a cavity and how you can prevent them from happening in the first place.
Tooth Decay in Infants and Toddlers
Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is a common problem. Some of the most common signs that your child may have a cavity are:
- White spots on the teeth: This is one of the earliest signs of tooth decay. If you see white spots on your child’s teeth, it’s important to take them to the dentist immediately.
- Brown or black spots on the teeth: These spots are another early sign of tooth decay. If you see them on your child’s teeth, it’s important to take them to the dentist immediately.
- Sensitivity to cold or hot drinks: If your child complains that their teeth hurt when they drink something cold or hot, they may have a cavity.
- Pain when chewing: If your child experiences pain chewing, it could be a sign of a cavity.
Early Signs of Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is extremely common in children. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one in four children aged 2-5 years have at least one untreated decaying tooth.
The good news is that tooth decay is preventable. And if caught early, it can be treated before it causes serious damage. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the early signs of tooth decay so you can protect your child’s smile.
One of the earliest signs of tooth decay could be white spots on the teeth. These spots are areas where the enamel has begun to break down. If you notice white spots on your child’s teeth, schedule a visit with their dentist so they can determine whether or not these spots are indicative of tooth decay.
Another early sign of tooth decay is sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks. If your child complains that their teeth hurt when they eat or drink something hot or cold, this could be a sign that they have a cavity.
If you notice any early signs of tooth decay in your child, don’t wait to schedule a dental visit. The sooner you catch and treat cavities, the better!
How to Prevent Tooth Decay in Children
Sealants, fluoride, and good oral hygiene can help prevent tooth decay in children. Sealants are a thin coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (the molars). They act as a barrier, preventing food and plaque that can cause cavities.
Fluoride strengthens teeth and helps prevent cavities. Children who drink fluoridated water have fewer cavities than those who do not. Fluoride is also available in mouth rinses, gels, and toothpaste.
Good oral hygiene includes brushing teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and eating a balanced diet.
When to See a Dentist About Your Child’s Cavities
If your child is complaining of tooth pain, has sensitive teeth, or is having trouble chewing, it may be time to see a dentist about a possible cavity. Additional signs that your child may have a cavity include white or brown spots on the teeth, and bad breath. If you
notice any of these signs, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to get your child’s teeth checked out.