According to data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics, 13.2% of children aged 5-19 have untreated tooth decay. 85.9% of children between 2-17 years old visited the dentist in 2018 for various dental concerns.
Are you worried about dental cavities in your child’s teeth? If you are, you should know some of the early signs of tooth decay in toddlers.
This guide will discuss some of the things you should look for. Keep reading to learn more.
Causes of Tooth Decay Explained
Tooth decay occurs when the enamel of the teeth starts to break down, and cavities begin to develop. Before you learn about the early signs of tooth decay, you should understand some of the causes that lead to it.
Tooth decay begins to occur when bacteria is left behind on the teeth. This occurs more quickly with foods that are high in sugars or starches.
The bacteria turn into acid that creates plaque. This plaque is responsible for the corrosion of the tooth’s enamel.
Certain Children Have a Higher Risk of Developing Tooth Decay
All children have a risk of developing tooth decay, but certain children can have a higher risk. If your child has a diet high in sugar and starch, they might be more likely to develop tooth decay.
If you live in an area with water low in fluoride, this can also increase your toddler’s risk of developing tooth decay. Bad oral hygiene practices can lead to tooth decay as well. A problem producing saliva is another cause of tooth decay for some children.
White Spots Are an Early Sign
Some early signs of tooth decay in toddlers include white spots on their teeth. If you notice some white discoloration on a few of your child’s teeth, you should take them to see a dentist. This is a sign of the weathering of the enamel on their teeth.
If you notice a white band around the tooth’s surface near your child’s gum line, this is another early sign of tooth decay. This is hard to detect, so make sure you examine your child’s teeth often.
A Brown Color on the Teeth
Once the tooth decay creates a cavity, you have a more serious problem. This will be easier to notice because you’ll see the light brown color on the affected tooth.
The worse the cavity becomes, the darker it gets. Once you notice a black color, the cavity is in an advanced stage.
If you notice a yellow, brownish, or dark black band on the surface of your child’s tooth, this means the decay is worsening. You’ll see this band close to the gum line as well.
Pain Can Be an Indicator Too
Tooth decay in children might be hard to diagnose because symptoms can vary from child to child. Some children don’t feel anything and visible symptoms are hard to see.
There is one sign that’s an obvious indicator of tooth decay, however. If your child complains of a toothache or pain in their mouth, this means they might have tooth decay that’s developing into a cavity.
If this is the case, you should take them to get examined by your dentist right away.
Sensitivity to certain foods is another common and early sign of tooth decay. You won’t always be able to see a cavity as it starts breaking down the enamel of your child’s teeth.
As the cavity continues to worsen, the nerves inside your child’s tooth will become exposed. Your child might feel sensitivity when eating some hot and cold foods and drinks because of the exposed nerve.
They might also feel sensitivity when eating sweets. Make sure to make an appointment with the dentist as soon as your child complains of sensitivity.
A Visible Hole Indicates Tooth Decay
Cavities in toddlers are most notable when they start creating a bigger pit in the tooth. If the cavity is large enough and located in an easy-to-see tooth, you’ll notice it right away.
If you see a hole in one of your child’s teeth, you’ll need to make an appointment with a dentist immediately. Check out this local dentist so you can have your child’s tooth decay addressed and fixed as soon as possible.
Bleeding Gums Are a Bad Sign
While gum disease and tooth decay are two different dental health issues, they can occur simultaneously. Tooth decay can also lead your child to develop gum disease.
If you haven’t seen any signs, the tooth decay may be left untreated and worsen over time. Once gum disease starts to develop, you’ll start to see your child’s gums bleed more often.
If you notice blood in the sink after your child brushes and flosses their teeth, you’ll need to take them to the dentist to determine the issue and find the appropriate treatment.
Bad Breath Can Occur Too
During the early stages of tooth decay, you might not notice any changes in your child’s oral health. They might not complain of any pain or sensitivity, and you won’t see any discoloration.
This makes detecting and treating tooth decay harder. One thing to look out for, however, is bad breath.
An accumulation of bacteria will cause your child to have bad breath even when brushing the recommended amount. The development of tooth decay will occur at a faster rate after this.
The Early Signs of Tooth Decay in Toddlers Explained
There are many early signs of tooth decay in toddlers you can look out for to prevent your child from developing worsening symptoms and needing more extensive treatment. Look out for bad breath and white spots on your child’s teeth.
Did you find useful information in this blog? If you did, check out some of the other health blogs on our site.