Poor oral health in kids destroys more than just a smile. A study shows that around 51 million hours of school get missed due to poor oral hygiene and dental diseases in U.S. children. Although tooth decay is the most common childhood disease it is preventable if preventive measures are taken properly. However, failure to the preventive measures results in costly and long-term adverse effects.
A combination of factors such as poor oral hygiene, sugary drinks, frequent snacking, etc. plays a role in the decaying process.
How Does Sugary Stuff Trigger Tooth Decay?
When your kid eats their normal food such as the carbs, tiny particles of foodstuffs will remain glued to their teeth. These food particles if left to settle and accumulate will form what we call plaque. The buildup of plaque brings forth harmful bacteria.
When these bacteria come into contact with sugar, they will break down to form very harmful acids. These acids have high corrosive levels that can easily eat up and char the tooth’s outer cover known as the enamel.
This is usually the very first step of tooth decay known as demineralization as the tooth experiences the very first loss of its enamel forming mineral. As the time wears off and if proper care isn’t taken, the enamel will be eaten up leaving the second layer of the tooth known as the dentin also exposed to these harmful acids.
In turn, the dentin will also be eaten up. When this happens, a hole that runs all the way to the root canal or your kid’s tooth will form. This hole is known as a cavity and can easily cause discomfort when eating, pain, and also a weak tooth root.
What Are Other Causes of Tooth Decay in Kids?
Apart too much consumption of sugars, there are a few other things that will cause or trigger tooth decay in your kids.
Poor Oral Hygiene
You need to make sure that your kid maintains proper oral hygiene. If your kid doesn’t clean their teeth regularly, they will have plaque buildup in their mouth. Their mouth will also be a fertile breeding place for bacteria that creates decay-causing harmful acids.
You child could clean their teeth but not regularly, In this case, you give plaque chance to again accumulate. This leads to a reaction between the present bacteria in your kids’ mouth, the acids, and the saliva to react with the small food particles to form the harmful acid.
Dry mouth symptom is a condition where saliva production in the mouth is reduced due to any disease or as a side effect of some medicines. Although not common in young children dry mouth symptom can also occur in children. As saliva helps in removing bacteria and harmful acids produced by bacteria, in the absence of saliva the environment facilitates the process of tooth decay.
The Preventive Measures against Tooth Decay in Children
Tooth decay is a very painful and infectious disease. If preventive measures are not taken the tooth decay can be irreversible for lifelong. Tooth decay in children compromises their ability to eat, talk, sleep and play and these all affect their self-esteem and social development process.
In case you have noticed any signs of tooth decay in your child’s teeth such as browning, chipping, or charring of the enamel, or holes on teeth, immediately take your child to a dentist. But here are some of the best preventive measures that you can take before any sign is visible:
Make sure your kid brushes their teeth as recommended by the dentist. They should use fluoridated toothpaste. Doing this regularly it will prevent any form of plaque buildup so that when your kid eats sugary stuff, the sugar will not find any high level of bacteria that they could react with to form any harmful acids that damage the tooth.
To keep tooth decay and cavities away, dentists often recommended that your kid brushes their teeth at least twice a day; before bed and when they wake up.
The other oral hygiene practice that your kid can also take up is flossing. Flossing is very effective at removing food particles that are stuck in between the teeth and around the mid-gums. The best way to keep tooth decay away with flossing is if you do it after every meal.
Prophy paste is often considered to get rid of any form of plaque buildup. It facilitates to absorb fluoride from fluoride varnish and hence strengthen tooth enamel.
Fluoride Varnish Treatment
Fluoride is a naturally existing mineral that is known to strengthen the tooth’s enamel that making it less susceptible to tooth decay and cavities. Fluoride varnish is a fluoride-containing lacquer that’s normally applied using a soft brush on kid’s teeth to strengthen the teeth against bacterial attack. It is popular as the single most effective tool we must prevent tooth decays.
The good thing about fluoride varnish is that the varnish is usually sweetened so kids love it. It is also easy to apply, has very few restrictions once applied, and is very affordable so parents can easily maintain the application. Applying fluoride varnish three times a year is the most recommended.
Use of Fluoridated Toothpaste
Just like fluoride varnish treatment, a fluoridated paste is specifically intended to provide your kid’s tooth with fluoride. When your kid brushes with fluoridated paste their teeth get a good source of the “teeth hardening fluoride” too.
Prevention of tooth decay in kids leans more towards proper care of the teeth. Make sure you keep to your dentist’s appointments and that you always give your children a great example to follow when taking care of their teeth.
The bacteria found in plaque buildup and tartar will use sugars in the foods to make harmful acids. These harmful acids will lead to the loss of mineral that creates the hard tooth cover known us the enamel and in turn leave your kid’s tooth quite vulnerable to wear and tear.
This wear and tear will eventually chip off the hard tooth cover. This is what is known as tooth decay. If left untreated it can get worse and cause very severe gum diseases and at worst lead to tooth loss; the good thing is tooth decay in kids can be easily reversed by using tasty fluoride varnish today. The treatment is affordable, easy to perform, and will leave your kid feeling happy.