Disease bad tooth childCaries in children is an ever-growing problem. The percentage of young children with tooth decay in particular is growing more and more.
Parents are often confused about the proper caries prevention and treatment for children. We would therefore like to answer the most important questions about caries in children.
What is caries?
First, let's take a brief look at what tooth decay actually is and how the well-known holes in the teeth are formed.
Caries is a disease of the teeth, which can only be caused by an interaction of certain factors. If these come together, the teeth are first demineralized and eventually become holey. This is then called caries.
Caries occurs in different stages. When caries affects children in the early stages, it is usually not possible to detect it with the naked eye. When visible areas of caries appear, it is usually already far advanced and has then spread to the dentin and possibly even to the tooth nerve.
How do cavities develop in the teeth?
The basis of caries are so-called cariogenic bacteria. These are parts of the oral flora that are able to convert sugars from food into acids. If we eat something, plaque forms, which provides the cariogenic bacteria with the basis for acid production.
These acids, which are formed by the bacteria, attack the tooth enamel. Under its influence, calcium and other minerals are dissolved from the tooth enamel, which becomes vulnerable to attack. Gradually, holes in the teeth then develop in these demineralized areas.
If the caries penetrates far into the tooth and reaches the tooth nerve, this can become inflamed, which leads to the well-known severe pain.
Caries in children despite brushing – why does my child have caries??
Children also often suffer from caries. According to the German Medical Journal, 54 percent of ten-year-olds have been treated for caries at least once in their lives.
Not only sugar and infrequent tooth brushing, but also incorrect tooth brushing or a problematic diet can promote caries in children. So brushing the teeth can be acidic immediately after consumption-. Sugary food tends to promote the destruction of tooth enamel.
If a toddler develops tooth decay, it is often so-called teat bottle caries. This occurs when children constantly drink sweetened beverages or milk substitutes from bottles. This form of tooth decay in children is particularly evident in the incisors and can even affect infants.
How to recognize caries in children?
Especially when caries is present in children in the early stages, it is often not possible to detect it with the naked eye. Do not wait until you discover dark spots or visible holes, because then the caries is already far advanced!
Of course, you can and should still pay attention to the health of your child's teeth. Early warning signs can include bright spots on the teeth as well as problems with the gums. Inflamed or bleeding gums should always be examined by a dentist.
Do not rely on your own judgment
Even if you take the initiative, the reliable detection of caries, especially in children, belongs in the hands of an experienced dentist. So, from the beginning, go for the preventive examinations as recommended in the Berlin Children's Dental Passport.
The pediatric dentist can use special instruments to thoroughly examine the teeth and detect caries in children at an early stage.
Caries in children: Treatment
Caries in children – what to do if it happened anyway? This question is asked by parents whose children are already affected by caries. Especially when tooth decay affects baby teeth, some parents wonder if it's not possible to simply wait until they eventually fall out.
Do decayed milk teeth need to be treated at all??
The short answer to this is: yes, in any case!
While it is true that the milk teeth fall out at some point anyway. However, caries of milk teeth should also be treated in time. Because otherwise not only bad pain and dangerous abscesses and inflammations are threatened.
Children who already have caries in their milk teeth are more likely to suffer from caries in their permanent teeth. To protect them from the disease, caries in children should therefore also be treated consistently.
How to treat caries in children?
In principle, the treatment of caries in children is similar to the treatment of adults. Minor damage can sometimes be sealed with a highly concentrated fluoride varnish. Major damage must be restored with a drill. To be filled afterwards.
If the tooth nerve is affected, root canal treatment can also be performed in children. This is done particularly gently with small children. Your dentist will always try to preserve the milk teeth, as they play an important role as placeholders for the following teeth.
If teeth are already very far destroyed, special milk tooth crowns can be used, which are placed over the tooth. This can also be a solution in some cases when children refuse treatment completely.
Caries in children: What to do if the child refuses treatment?
It is best to explain tooth decay to children, including why it is important to treat it. Small caries damage can then often be treated without problems, even in young children. Before the injection, there is a special anesthetic gel for the gums for children, so that they do not even notice the puncture.
If children have great fears, laughing gas can help to alleviate them and make the treatment more pleasant. At CASA DENTALIS we have a lot of experience in treating children and adults with nitrous oxide.
If all else fails, necessary procedures can be performed under anesthesia. But this should always be the last solution.
How to prevent caries on milk teeth?
Caries in children can be counteracted by good dental hygiene and proper eating habits:
– Brush teeth twice a day. Brushing is absolutely necessary up to the age of about eight years. – Do not brush immediately after eating fruit or sweets. Wait 30 minutes. – Flossing is also recommended for children. – Do not let your child suck continuously on the bottle between meals. – Get your child used to drinking unsweetened teas and water right from the start. Allow sweets only directly after a main meal. Limit sugar consumption. – Use a fluoride toothpaste or fluoride tablets. – Go with your child to the recommended preventive dentist appointments.
Conclusion: Caries in children is not to be trifled with
If tooth decay is bothering children, it should not be taken lightly. Because otherwise caries can attack the milk teeth, but also the permanent teeth and in the worst case destroy them. CASA DENTALIS KIDS offers you and your children a relaxed atmosphere for dental treatment!