What You Need to Know About Childhood Cavities

From Business Health Trust dental provider Delta Dental of Washington

Tooth decay can occur at any age — even in children! In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistrytooth decay is the most common chronic disease of childhood, with cavities being four times more common than childhood asthma and three times more likely than childhood obesity.

If left untreated, childhood cavities can cause several other issues. From pain and infection to difficulty eating, irregular tooth development, overbites, and speech problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even notes that children with poor oral health miss more school and receive lower grades than children with good oral health.

Here are the main reasons for childhood cavities:

  • Inadequate brushing and flossing. Brushing twice and flossing once a day is key. Brushing should start as soon as your infant has one tooth.
  • Wrong amount or type of toothpaste. For infants younger than 2, the American Dental Association recommends a smear of paste, to pea-sized for 3- to 6-year-olds. A fluoride toothpaste helps to strengthen enamel but should not be swallowed.
  • Too many sugary or starchy food and drinks. Diet plays a huge role in the health of teeth and gums at an early age. Bacteria feeds on simple sugars and starch causing plaque, which weakens tooth enamel and leads to cavities.
  • Irregular trips to the dentist. The initial visit should come after the first tooth appears, but no later than their first birthday. Preventive visits ensure there is no buildup of plaque and tartar that lead to cavities and the need for extensive treatments.

The good news is that childhood tooth decay is largely preventable by introducing good oral habits. For full details of symptoms and treatment options visit Delta Dental’s Childhood Cavities patient blog.