Kids, Cavities and Tooth Decay

Kids, Cavities and Tooth Decay

“Oh no… my child has a hole on one of his teeth!!”

Finding a cavity on your child’s tooth is something most parents dread seeing. As much as most would be tempted to think these baby teeth “are going to fall out eventually”, maintaining their health and preventing infection is more important that many parents realise.

First, let’s get the facts on cavities and decay straight. Cavities happen when food (especially refined sugars) stick to teeth over long periods, and eventually ferment into acids due to the bacteria in our mouth. Over time, these acids cause the enamel on our teeth (the hard white bit that you see externally) to dissolve,  eventually causing the top of the tooth to collapse, forming a hole (i.e cavity). Childrens’ teeth tend to be softer in nature and thus, unfortunately, the effects of acid-damage amongst children tend to be worse than adults.

It’s not all bad news though. More often than not, the saliva in our mouths and good oral hygiene such as brushing, flossing and regular dental visits can help buffer and possibly even reverse initial cavities.

So here are our top 5 tips for keeping those little teeth healthy, and to prevent tooth decay and cavities:

1. Brush twice daily (and floss where possible)

  • Electric toothbrushes potentially do a better job compared to manual toothbrushes, especially if you / a caregiver is brushing for the little one.
  • Kids toothpaste with low concentrations of fluoride is recommended as soon as the child is able to spit

2. Keep snacking to a minimum or pick tooth-friendly alternatives

  • Snacks between main meals are the most damaging to children’s teeth, so keep the sugary treats close to a main meal like lunch or dinner
  • Try switching the afternoon biscuit or box of raisins with cheese or nuts. As much as they are healthy and good for you, do remember that FRUIT is a hidden source of SUGAR too!

3. TIMING is key and not quantity

  • Five chocolates in one go is better for your teeth than 1 piece 5 times a day. The idea is to the keep the acid assaults on your teeth to a minimum

4. No milk-bottles at night, please!

  • This nasty habit can wreak havoc on baby teeth especially on the younger ones. Train your tiny-tots early to drink water and brush last thing before bed.

5. Of course, don’t forget to bring your little-one in for a check-up at least
once every 6months.

Regular dental check-ups are important for children too. Not only does it help prevent or treat tooth decay, it can also help prevent crooked teeth or fissures. If you’d like to, you can book an appointment with us today!

About Author

Chang Fu-Gui

Dr Chang Fu-Gui is a dentist with The Dental Studio (a subsidiary of Singapore Medical Group). He practices a range of general, family and implant dentistry.

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