Cavity Alert: Recognizing the Signs of Tooth Decay in Children

Identifying your child’s early signs of tooth decay can help avoid severe tooth decay and premature tooth extractions.

Did you know that 52% of children between the ages of 6 and 8 have at least one cavity in their primary teeth? Cavities occur when bacteria feed on sugars and starch in the mouth and produce acid as a by-product. This acid erodes the enamel, exposing sensitive nerve fibers and causing intense pain.

Identifying your child’s early signs of tooth decay can help avoid severe tooth decay and premature tooth extractions. Here are some of the most common signs of cavities in children to look out for.

A Persistent Toothache

A dull, throbbing toothache could indicate tooth decay, especially if it worsens at night. Some children also complain about pain and sensitivity while eating. This is another sign of dental decay. While pain relievers can manage the pain, they’re only a temporary solution. Visit your dentist to treat the decay and eliminate the pain once and for all.

Sensitivity to Hot and Cold Drinks and Foods

Does your child feel a sharp pain when they eat ice cream or drink hot chocolate? If so, then they may have cavities. The corroding action of the acid exposes sensitive nerve endings, putting them in direct contact with the outside. This explains the sensitivity when eating hot or cold foods.

Tooth Discoloration

Teeth usually start browning during the early phases of tooth discoloration. Be on the lookout for any signs of discoloration, even a subtle change in shade. However, remember that staining from decay is localized and not widespread like with pigment discoloration. Visit your dentist immediately if you notice browning in your child’s teeth.

Bad Breath

The bacteria in the teeth produce sulfur as a by-product, which explains why tooth decay children have bad breath. Unexplained bad breath moments after brushing your child’s teeth is an early sign of dental decay. You can use child-friendly mouthwash to freshen their mouths while awaiting the dentist’s appointment.

Darkened Holes in the Teeth

Dark holes in the teeth or broken teeth are signs of advanced tooth decay. This shows that the infection goes past your enamel and dentin and extends to the tooth’s core. If so, your child might need a pulpotomy or root canal to address the infection and stop the decay.

Bleeding Gums

Gum disease usually goes hand in hand with tooth decay. So if your child experiences gum disease symptoms like bleeding and swollen gums, they probably have dental. The best action is to take them to a dentist for prompt diagnosis and treatment. The earlier you do so, the better for your child.

Schedule an Appointment

Be on the lookout for the telltale signs of dental decay to preserve your child’s oral health. Remember, early detection goes a long way toward preventing tooth decay and other dental complications in your child. Schedule a dentist’s appointment when you notice these signs.

Is your child suffering from dental decay? If so, contact The Dental Anesthesia Center for prompt treatment and pain relief.

Updated: June 22, 2023

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