Cavities in children

You may notice stains or “holes” in the child’s teeth. It is therefore paramount to see a dentist to make sure it is not a case of cavities.

Cavities in children

Tooth decay occurs when teeth tissues are destroyed by bacteria. The decay becomes obvious when it is at an advanced stage (“holes”, stains). Cavities in children is rarely painful. It is often caused by an unsuitable brushing technique and/or excessive sugar consumption.

As soon as the first set of teeth appear (around 6 months), your child may have cavities. If your child has cavities, it is imperative to immediately seek medical attention in order to treat them, and to determine the cause of their appearance and how to control it.

Be careful, cavities on milk teeth are seldom painful. Be sure to look carefully if you notice something abnormal when brushing and go for regular check-ups (every 6 months) in order not to miss a cavity.

When children begin brushing on their own, it is not uncommon for them to have difficulty reaching all tooth surfaces, especially at the back, where the permanent molars grow. The appearance of cavities is usually common on these molars.

If your child has cavities, they must be treated quickly, because if left untreated, they will continue to grow.

Why treat cavities on baby teeth?

Milk teeth are used for a variety of functions, so it is important to take care of them.

  • They provide the space for the permanent teeth that will replace them by acting as a guide.
  • They also help your child eat well (therefore also grow well).
  • They help the tongue to be correctly positioned during phonation and swallowing during the early stages of childhood.
  • Having cavities on milk teeth leads to dental infections, which is bad for overall health (because the immune system is busy fighting this infection), and cause fatigue in the patient. Also, this consequently affects the permanent teeth forming under the milk teeth: when they form in an infected environment, anomalies appear (shape, color...).
carie dentaire
Istock by Getty Images

What are the symptoms of cavities in children?

There is rarely tooth ache in children. If  you see notice holes or stains in their mouth, bad breath, places food get stuck in when they eat or if there is bleeding in the teeth or gums, particularly when brushing, you should quickly see a dentist.

If they are having painful gum or cheek swelling or refuse to eat, you should also see a dentist.

What are the risk factors of cavities in children?

In most cases, cavities in children are caused by eating or brushing.

  • Poor or ineffective brushing when the child brushes alone.
  • Brushing unchecked by an adult every night until the age of 9.
  • No daily brushing in the morning and evening.
  • Not using an age-appropriate fluoride toothpaste.
  • Eating too much sugar outside mealtimes (snacking all day).
  • Taking milk (breast milk, from animals, vegetable, powdered, with or without added sugar) all day and especially at night, non-stop and without respecting mealtimes.
  • Drinking juice outside breakfast or snack times.
  • Drinking soda more than once a week.
  • Intake of syrup more than once a week.
  • Taking sweet, especially those that stick to the teeth (gragibus, carambar) more than once a week.

In certain rare cases, it also caused by:

  • The structural defects of the teeth.
  • Consumption of sugary medication.
  • Salivary disorder (salivary composition and amount secreted).

What are the various treatments for cavities in children at the American Hospital of Paris?

  • Prevention: helping to prevent the appearance of cavities with dental fluoridation or sealing furrows and above all explaining and teaching how to brush properly.
  • Taking care of cavities.
  • Reconstruction of decaying teeth.
  • Extracting infected milk teeth and replacing them
  • Administering salivary stimulants (bubble gums, lemon, drugs) in the case hyposialia or asialia.
American Hospital of Paris