Stunted milk teeth full of black spots: Caries is often a problem in the first few years of life. Child caries ensures that even small children get to know the dentist and his drill. One could easily avoid tooth decay. Here you can find out more about where tooth decay in children comes from, how you can recognize it, and what the correct prophylaxis looks like.
How does tooth decay develop in children?
Tooth decay is an infectious disease caused by bacteria. The germs transform food residues (dental plaque, plaque) into organic acids. Thus, with prolonged exposure, dissolve minerals (mainly calcium) from the hard tooth substances. This process takes place in several stages:
- Chalk mark (white spot, incipient caries, initial caries): Demineralization point recognizable as a white mark or superficial roughness
- Fixation of plaque: The rough area increases, the immigration and multiplication of bacteria first destroy the tooth enamel, later also the dentin, so that dark discolorations and holes form.
- Ingress of caries into the pulp: Due to the internal, purulent inflammation of the tooth, the tooth root dies.
Since milk teeth have a lower mineral content and thinner enamel than permanent teeth, tooth decay spreads faster on milk teeth.
The transfer of the caries bacteria from adults to children is via kisses, jointly in use cutlery, or via infecting by pathogens pacifier/chew toy. The earlier children come into contact with carries bacteria, the earlier this can occur.
Although tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in preschool age, which begins in the upper incisors and canines. Thus, from there can spread to all other teeth, the changes in the early stages of children’s (plaque, gingivitis, white spots) often not in consideration at a young age. That is why the dentist is usually hit too late.
How do you recognize tooth decay in children?
As a preliminary stage of caries, white spots are in view on the tooth, where the caries bacteria dissolve the calcium from the tooth enamel. Dark spots on the tooth can also be an indication of tooth decay. If the children complain of a toothache while eating sweet, hot, or cold dishes, it is either a sign of sensitive teeth or of already well tooth decay.
Why do children get tooth decay?
A pacifier, spoon, or milk bottle teat licked off by mom to start tasting – and it’s done: Caries bacteria are transferred and migrate from her mouth to the children. There, the germs only need one thing in order to thrive: Carbohydrates such as sugar or starch, such as those found in sweets, fruit, and sweetened drinks. The latter is particularly fatal if they constantly wash around the teeth, for example at night (bottle caries).
Sugar is one of the most important causes of pathological tooth decay. The question of how much sugar your child consumes is less than how often. If a child eats sweets throughout the day, their teeth will remain sugar longer than if they were at a larger amount at once. However, acidic foods such as vinegar or fruit juices also roughen the tooth surface and attack the tooth enamel.
Does tooth decay in children need treatment?
Since milk teeth are falling out anyway, many parents believe that their condition does not matter and that they do not need to be rehabilitated. On the contrary: especially tooth decay in children should treat by. Because without treatment, the number of problematic bacteria in the child’s mouth increases over time. Children with carious milk teeth, therefore, have a much higher incidence of caries on their second teeth than those with healthy milk teeth.
The bacteria that cause tooth decay settle on permanent teeth as they breakthrough. If deciduous teeth with caries do not treat, mineralization disorders can also occur in the permanent dentition.
Tooth decay in early childhood is a serious health disorder that can be accompanied by pain, abscesses, and feverish conditions. In addition, if the milk teeth are severely damaged and the mouth is inflamed, food intake and speech development can be impaired. If milk teeth, which serve as placeholders for the permanent teeth, are lost too early, the remaining teeth tend to be misaligned. In such cases, dental prostheses may be necessary even for small children.
How can you prevent tooth decay in children?
The best remedy for tooth decay in children is to prevent the infectious disease from developing in the first place. The right caries prophylaxis, therefore, means fighting the causes of children’s caries. To avoid early infection of their teeth, parents should not lick the child’s spoons or teats or share cutlery with the child.
It’s also important to start dental care early. As soon as the first milk teeth erupt, they want to be brushed daily. The best way to brush them properly is to use an age-appropriate children’s toothbrush and children’s toothpaste containing fluoride. To get your child to accustom to tooth brushing and oral hygiene, you should involve them early on. So first let your child brush themselves with the toothbrush. Since children do not clean thoroughly enough themselves, parents have to clean up until they reach school age.
Apart from cleaning, parents should pay particular attention to the proper nutrition of their child. A balanced, tooth-healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals is ideal: water and unsweetened tea to quench your thirst, sweets only after main meals, no snacks in between. In addition, fruit juices should only be drunk very diluted and only hard foods that encourage chewing. Thus, allow sufficient saliva to flow is consume.
Regular inspection of the dentist is essential at an early age. Take your child to the dentist every six months, not just when a problem arises. In this way, children also get to know the dentist as something completely normal, which means they do not fear the dentist.
Can tooth decay in children be curable?
If tooth decay begins to develop on a milk tooth, you can counteract this with targeted caries prophylaxis, i.e. consistent brushing of the teeth and remineralization (supply of fluoride, calcium, and phosphate) of the demineralized areas. In the early stages of tooth decay, a quite new process called caries infiltration also helps.
With caries infiltration, tooth decay is stopped with a so-called Icon substance. After carefully removing the top mineral layer of the tooth with acid, the resinous liquid applies to the various areas using very thin films, which are also suitable for hard-to-reach interdental spaces and harden up with a daylight lamp. The resin arranges between the crystalline enamel particles and strengthens the tooth structure.
In the case of already established damage, however, the dentist has to work to drill out the holes, clean them with “seals”. Unfortunately, this procedure is painful, so many children are afraid of it or even do not allow dental treatment. Therefore, parents often look for painless treatments.
Parents are most likely to find this with pediatric dentists, i.e. dentists who specialize in child-friendly treatment. Thus, specializes in gently introduce small patients to the necessary measures and create positive dentist experiences.
For example, it is possible to use laser technology to remove incipient caries without severe pain. A painless treatment can also guarantee if the pediatric dentist uses local anesthesia, hypnosis, or anesthesia.
Tooth decay in children
At a children’s dentist, children can visit the dentist in a relaxed environment. The trained team of this ordination prepares you for your appointment in a child-friendly manner by explaining the control process. During the examination, the children’s dentist skillfully guides his young patients through the appointment with the help of games, relaxation techniques, and distraction techniques.