The enamel on children’s teeth is thin, making baby teeth particularly vulnerable to cavities. If your child does develop a cavity, you need to get them to the dentist—and fast! Not sure what to look for? Here are five signs your little one has some decay:
1. There’s a tooth that is darker in color than the rest.
Dark spots, or teeth that have a brownish band on the surface are signs of decay.
2. Your child is having trouble chewing.
Cavities are painful, making chewing difficult. Take note if your kid has trouble eating the foods they normally enjoy.
3. Their gums are swollen.
Healthy gums are pink and have an even tone throughout the mouth. Inflammation in the gums is a sign the tooth has a cavity.
4. Your child is sensitive to temperatures.
Teeth with cavities are extremely sensitive to hot and cold foods. Watch for signs of pain when your child has foods like soup or ice cream.
5. They are struggling in school.
Research has found a direct correlation between poor dental health and academic performance. If your child is having trouble focusing and completing assignments at school, untreated tooth decay might be the culprit.
Tooth decay is the #1 chronic illness in children—but it’s 100% preventable. You can help stop a cavity before it starts with these simple tips:
- Help your kids start good dental habits at a young age. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day does wonders for the teeth.
- Sugar is frequently the culprit behind cavities because it feeds bacteria that eat holes in tooth enamel. Often, that sugar is hiding where we least expect it. For example, one 6oz box of apple juice can has almost as much sugar as two donuts! Limit your kids’ consumption of sugary foods and beverages.
- Fluoridated tap water is especially great for protecting and reinforcing the thin enamel on baby teeth. Having your kids drink water between meals and before bed washes the cavity-causing bacteria from their mouth.
Cheryl Lyons is the Social Media Specialist at Amélie Company, the local Denver advertising and marketing agency that works with Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation.