One of the most concerning issues for parents of little children is seeing signs of tooth decay on their little one’s pearly whites.
As we already know, baby teeth are just as important for the kids’ health as permanent teeth, even if they get replaced by others in a matter of years.
Decalcification is usually the first sign of decay that parents notice. We will go through the essential information about this issue and discuss how we can prevent and even treat it.
What Is Decalcification?
If you want to understand exactly what you’re dealing with, then it’s important to know how our bodies keep our teeth healthy. Our teeth go through a continuous process of decalcification and remineralization. When we eat, especially when it comes to food high in sugars or starches, a film of food particles – plaque – remains on the surface of the teeth. Naturally, our saliva works against tooth decay by imbibing the teeth in calcium and phosphate ions and by diluting the acids in food.
When we fail to remove the plaque in time, it stays on the surface of the tooth and minerals from the enamel start dissipating because of the bacteria in the plaque. Plaque hardens and eventually becomes so hard that only professional cleaning can remove it successfully. If this stage is reached, the teeth can no longer get the minerals they need from our saliva.
Decalcification looks like white spots on the teeth, and they cannot be removed by brushing and flossing. It mainly appears next to the gum line, but it can also cover various other parts of the tooth. When your toddler shows these white spots on his teeth, it’s time to schedule a dentist appointment as soon as possible.
What Can You Do About It?
When parents notice decalcification on their toddler’s teeth, they usually think that it’s an irreversible process. Fortunately, the teeth are able to remineralize, but they need help to do so, as saliva is no longer able to penetrate the enamel.
The first step in dealing with decalcification is to cut out all the food that promotes plaque: sugar, starch, and acidic foods. The next crucial step is to maintain a rigorous cleaning every day, with brushing at least twice a day and flossing regularly. Giving your toddler water or cheese after meals may also be helpful, as it helps clean and dilutes the acids in food.
These first steps are also part of a prevention program, but they won’t suffice for teeth that are already affected. Your child’s dentist will administer the proper treatment for dealing with it: MI paste, fluoride treatment or fluoride supplements, tooth sealing, etc.
Most importantly, take your child to an experienced St. Louis pediatric dentist as soon as their first teeth emerge, even if they don’t show concerning signs. Regular check-ups will help identify possible issues in time and deal with them much more effectively.
Call us today to learn more or set up an appointment!