There are a number of oral health problems that can affect children. These problems, depending on how severe they are, can have significant impact on a child’s health and wellbeing. One of such oral health problems is tooth decay.
Tooth decay, also known as cavities or dental caries, is the most common chronic condition of childhood. Tooth decay occurs in children when bacteria within the mouth begin to eat away at the primary teeth.
If left untreated, it can lead to infections and cause pain. The condition may lead to difficulties with eating and speaking. A child who has cavities may also feel ashamed about the appearance of his/her teeth and this can affect self-esteem.
It is important that a child receives treatment early for tooth decay. The earlier care is received, the higher the chances of reversing the effects of the decay. There are different methods for treating cavities depending on how severe it is.
Cavities can be prevented in the first place and a child does not have to go through the pain and discomfort they bring. If your child has cavities, here are some of the things that might be responsible:
- Going to bed with a bottle in his/her mouth. This is especially true for toddlers.
- Eating or sucking on sweets for long periods
- Eating too much of sugary foods and drinks
To prevent this painful condition from occurring to your child, here are some of the things you should do:
- Don’t add sugar to your child’s food. Children, just like adults, do not need sugar. Sugar does not provide any nutritional benefit but it does threaten the health
- Do not allow your child to suck on sugary foods for long periods
- Do not give your child sugary drinks, juice or milk before he/she goes to bed. Always give water
- Do not give your child too much acidic foods as this can weaken the enamel and make your child more susceptible to cavities
- Brush your toddler’s teeth twice daily with a soft toothbrush and after he/she eats sweets
- If your child is younger than 6, watch him/her while brushing and ensure that only a small amount of toothpaste is used and it is spat out and not swallowed
- Ensure brushing lasts at least two minutes