Protecting Your Child's Teeth From Decay

If your child has started to develop cavities, you are probably concerned about their oral health. A cavity is caused by decay and can grow in size until the entire tooth structure is compromised.

Decay begins as acids released by the bacteria in your child's mouth demineralize the enamel of the little one's teeth. The enamel is the hardest layer of a tooth and is comprised of multiple minerals, including calcium and phosphorous. As the minerals are dissolved, weakened areas form in the enamel. If the enamel is not remineralized promptly, holes or cavities develop in the tooth material.

If the holes are deep enough, they can breach the innermost layer of a youngster's tooth, which is called the pulp. The pulp is a soft living substance that contains the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth.  When the dentin and enamel layers no longer protect the pulp, bacteria can infect it.

Signs that your child has an infected tooth may include bad breath, a gingival abscess, chronic toothaches, and dental discoloration. Your child's dentist may prescribe antibiotics and an endodontic treatment to resolve a serious tooth infection. However, if too much tooth material has already been lost, the dentist may perform an extraction.

If the treatment of a dental infection is postponed, the infection can spread to your child's bloodstream or jawbone to cause significant health issues. 

Still, there are measures that you can take to prevent dental issues that result from decay. Here are a few of them.

Wean Your Child as Quickly as Possible

If your child has teeth and is still drinking from a bottle, it is best to wean the little one as quickly as possible. A bottle allows your child to sip sugary liquids continually throughout the day. Additionally, bottle-drinking is often used as a soothing mechanism during naps and at bedtime.

Even healthy fluids, such as milk and juice, contain a significant amount of natural sugars on which oral bacteria can feed. As the bacteria digest the sugars, they release enamel-demineralizing acids. 

To wean your child quickly, start offering the youngster a cup as soon as possible. Also, only allow the little one to drink water from a bottle. 

Use Fluoride Rinses

Multiple fluoride mouth rinses are available for purchase over the counter. The rinses can be used for children who are old enough to avoid swallowing a mouthwash. The additional fluoride helps remineralize your child's teeth and strengthens the tooth enamel against decay. 

For more ways to protect your child's oral health, schedule a consultation with a pediatric dentist like William U Britton DDS MAGD today.