Parents do whatever they can to protect their children’s overall health and well-being. But sometimes, despite our best efforts, things happen. If you’re wondering about cavities in children and why your child, in particular, seems to be getting multiple cavities, you need to know the facts to prevent future cavities down the road.
What causes childhood cavities?
Tooth decay leads to cavities and is caused by bacteria and foods containing carbohydrates. Foods and beverages such as soda, milk, candy, cake, raisins, fruit juices, bread, and cereals, when left on the teeth, can turn into bacteria, which later transform into acids. The combination of bacteria, food, acid, and your child’s saliva form plaque that sticks to the teeth. The acids produced by the bacteria eat away at the enamel, leading to cavities.
Some parents think that cavities in baby teeth aren’t that big of a deal because those teeth will fall out anyway. Unfortunately, this is a myth. And sadly, there are many myths that parents often believe when it comes to cavities in children. Our goal is to help dispel those beliefs so that you and your child can develop an oral health regimen that will protect them now and into the future.
4 Common Myths and Misconceptions About Childhood Cavities
As your pediatric dentist in Salem, Oregon, our goal at Spinnaker Pediatric Dentistry is to make sure that you know fact from fiction about childhood cavities.
Myth # 1: They aren’t harmful to baby teeth.
This myth couldn’t be further from the truth. While it is true that baby teeth won’t last forever, untreated cavities in primary teeth can cause severe harm and negatively impact how your child’s mouth develops. Childhood cavities in baby teeth can impact their nutrition, cause overbites, hinder adult teeth from coming in straight, impede speech development, cause severe oral pain, and lead to infections in nearby teeth.
Though baby teeth are temporary, it doesn’t mean that keeping baby teeth healthy isn’t essential. When your child develops a cavity, the best dentists will stop the decay process by removing the infected area of the tooth, and sealing the hole with a dental filling.
Myth # 2: Childhood cavities are normal.
Unfortunately, it seems to be widely accepted that children will get cavities. But childhood cavities are far from ideal. You can prevent childhood cavities with excellent oral hygiene and proper nutrition. Unfortunately, by the age of four, it is estimated that one in every four children has at least one cavity. And in some cases, a cavity can appear before age one.
Three of the best things you can do to help prevent childhood cavities are to encourage healthy and good eating habits in children, schedule your child’s first dental appointment shortly after the appearance of their first tooth, and teach your child proper oral hygiene.
Myth # 3: They aren’t a big deal.
Childhood cavities are a big deal. Failure to treat childhood cavities can lead to severe consequences, including the following:
- Mouth pain.
- Advanced dental infections.
- Missed school.
- Lack of sleep.
- Loss of teeth.
- Gum disease.
- Permanent tooth damage.
- Disrupted speech development.
- Low self-esteem.
If you treat your child’s baby teeth as though they are expendable, it can mean lifelong negative consequences. Periodontitis, aka gum disease, and tooth decay can advance to the point where it will threaten the underlying bone and permanent teeth that have not yet poked through the gum’s surface. Additionally, failure to address issues with baby teeth makes your child susceptible to pain and discomfort that could have been otherwise avoided.
By teaching your child good oral hygiene for life, you can help prevent severe consequences down the road, all the while protecting their overall health.
Myth # 4: There is nothing you can do about childhood cavities.
If you haven’t picked up on the theme here, the fact is that as parents, there are plenty of things we can do to prevent the development of childhood cavities. Besides what we have already mentioned, teaching your child how to brush and floss their teeth properly is of utmost importance. And if your child is pushing back and doesn’t want to partake in a daily oral health routine, don’t worry, as there are plenty of ways to make brushing and flossing fun for children.
Spinnaker Pediatric Dentistry is the best dentist near you.
If you are looking for the right dentist for your child in the Salem, Oregon, area, and have been searching online for “a dentist office near me,” “the best dentist near me,” or “cosmetic dentistry near me,” look no further. Spinnaker Pediatric Dentistry is committed to making the dentist fun for your child. Additionally, we offer conscious sedation to make your child’s dentist appointment easy and comfortable.
Contact us or request an appointment via our website. We look forward to putting a plan in place to help you and your child prevent childhood cavities.