If your child is complaining of toothache or they’ve lost their appetite because of dental pain, now is the time to call us and book an appointment. Decay can be very painful for children and it can also increase the risk of premature tooth loss, which may increase the risk of dental problems further down the line. Our friendly team is trained to care for children and we always look forward to welcoming younger patients to the clinic.
What causes tooth decay?
Tooth decay is one of the most common preventable illnesses in children in the UK and the most common causes are poor oral hygiene and a diet, which is rich in sugar. Neglecting oral hygiene increases the risk of plaque, the main risk factor for cavities. Without regular brushing, plaque, a substance made from saliva and bits of food, is allowed to collect in the mouth. The bacteria in plaque release acids, which gradually wear away and erode the enamel, causing cavities to develop in the tooth surface. The consumption of sugar is also a real concern today, as research shows that children are consuming more sugar than ever before. Sweets, chocolate, cakes, biscuits, fizzy drinks and energy drinks are the main culprits, but other products, such as fruit juice and smoothies, can also be very damaging for the teeth. We recommend keeping an eye on sugar intake and reading labels carefully, as many foods contain hidden sugars.
What are the signs of tooth decay?
The most common signs of tooth decay are toothache, which may be mild or severe, weakness in the tooth and sensitivity; it is possible to see cavities sometimes; they appear as small brown or yellow coloured holes on the surface of the tooth.
What happens if decay is left untreated?
Cavities can become larger and eventually the tooth will fall out. There is also a risk that bacterial infection can spread, causing dental abscesses, which are very painful. The milk teeth are designed to fall out, but if they are lost earlier than planned, this can increase the risk of developmental and alignment issues with the adult teeth.