Cavities among children are common, so it’s important to monitor your child’s smile. Over half of children ages 6 to 19 have had at least one cavity in a baby tooth or permanent tooth. The dentist can check for cavities during annual oral exams, but there are some signs you can look for in the meantime. Read on to learn how to tell if your child has a cavity.
Signs Your Child May Have a Cavity
Here are some indicators your child may have a cavity forming:
- White spots or holes/pits on the tooth
- Sensitivity to hot or cold drinks
- Your child complains of tooth pain, especially after eating something sweet
- There are targeted stains on certain teeth
- A temporary toothache keeps recurring or getting worse
If you’ve noticed any of these issues, you may want to schedule a dentist appointment to get them looked at.
Routine Dentist Appointments Can Catch Cavities Early on
Dentist appointments aren’t just for teeth cleanings. They allow your dentist to monitor your child’s oral health and check for changes as they arise. In many cases, a dentist can catch tooth decay before it turns into an actual cavity, and they can take precautions to prevent the decay from worsening.
Your child should see the dentist at least once a year for routine oral care and exams. This can start as early as age one. If you’re looking for a family dentist, pediatric dentist or general dentist in Chesterfield MI, Clinton Dental Center offers comprehensive smile care for the whole family. We also provide composite fillings, dental sealants, braces, dental bonding and much more. Reach out to (586) 949-5363 to schedule a dentist appointment for your child.
What to Do If Your Child Has a Cavity
If your child has a cavity, the damage cannot be reversed. The only step now is to fill in the cavity so the decay does not get worse. If the cavity has been left alone for a while, the dentist may recommend a root canal, a crown, or extracting the tooth entirely.
The first step in the process is scheduling a dentist appointment. The dentist can examine your child’s smile and recommend the best course of action. You can talk to the office staff about insurance coverage, payment plans, etc. to make a plan for cavity correction.
How to Prevent Your Child from Getting Cavities
The best way to fix a cavity is to prevent it from ever forming. This is just as important with baby teeth as it is with permanent teeth. Here are some tips to prevent cavities in children:
- Brush at least twice a day and floss once. You’ll need to assist with this during the early years, but most children are able to brush their own teeth by the age of four. If you struggle to get your child to brush their teeth, read How to Make Teeth Brushing Fun for Kids for some helpful ideas.
- See the dentist at least once a year for teeth cleaning and oral exams.
- Avoid sugary foods and drinks as much as possible. Tooth decaying bacteria feeds on sugar left in your child’s mouth.
- Schedule brushing around meal times. For instance, you may want to have your child eat breakfast and then brush their teeth right before they leave for school. At night, have your child brush their teeth after the last meal or snack of the day.
- Talk to your dentist about dental sealants. Dental sealants can prevent 80% of cavities for two years and 50% of cavities for up to 4 years, according to the CDC. Learn more: How Dental Sealants Prevent Tooth Decay.
- Use the right toothbrush and toothpaste for your child’s smile. Children need smaller toothbrushes that can properly access different parts of their teeth. An adult toothbrush may be too large to reach the back correctly.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your dentist for advice! That’s what they’re there for. Discuss any issues or concerns you may have about your child’s smile, and your dentist can offer personalized advice to help you out.
For even more ideas on how to protect your child’s smile, check out these Cavity Prevention Tips from Clinton Dental Center.