During our childhood, we undergo a significant amount of physical, mental, and emotional development. What happens during this period can have a lasting impact on our overall health throughout our lives. This fact holds for our dental health as well. Our primary teeth are for more than just helping us eat as children. They also guide the development of our jawbone, ensuring sufficient room for adult teeth to grow. They also ensure that they can grow straight and in alignment as they’re supposed. This means ensuring that we prevent decay during these earliest years is essential.
Warning Signs of Tooth Decay In Children and Adults
The process of tooth decay is fairly straightforward. It tends to occur roughly the same in both children and adults. However, there is a greater likelihood that an adult will both identify the ensuing decay and do something about it. Children may not recognize that tooth decay is beginning nor know it’s important to do something about it. Even those who recognize it may be afraid to tell their guardians that tooth decay is happening for several reasons.
This means it’s essential that we know how to watch for it for them. The first signs of tooth decay are often white blemishes that form in the enamel. These white blemishes are known as white spot lesions and indicate areas where the enamel is softened. This softening occurs due to the enamel becoming demineralized. This demineralization is most often the result of poor oral hygiene allowing bacteria to attack the teeth. These bacteria, known as streptococcus mutans, consume sugars and carbohydrates and convert them into acids and biofilms. These biofilms serve as further breeding grounds for the bacteria and allow the acids to attack the enamel of the teeth.
Some treatment options that can help prevent or reverse early decay include:
- Strengthening teeth with fluoride treatments
- Improving our oral hygiene practices to catch problem areas
- Taking fluoride supplements to ensure we have enough in our system
- Receiving professional cleanings that eliminate the presence of tartar and plaque
Another clear sign that your children are at risk of tooth decay is gum disease. This will appear in the form of puffy, sensitive gums that bleed when brushed. When gum disease advances, it can become a condition known as periodontitis. This advanced form of gum disease can cause the gums to peel away from the teeth, exposing the sensitive roots to damage and decay. Professional cleaning is one important stage in addressing periodontitis.
Work With Your Dentist For Pediatric Dental Health
Every family dentist is dedicated to protecting their patients from tooth decay. This goes double for their youngest patients. Their developing oral health will have a lasting impact on their smile throughout their lives. By taking action early, you and your dentist can ensure they’ll always be able to smile with pride. When tooth decay does occur, they can suggest a treatment plan to restore the health of your children’s teeth.