Tooth decay is the most common oral health problem among American children and teenagers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tooth decay is four times more common than asthma in teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17.
Despite the fact that tooth decay and cavities are preventable, at least one in five children under the age of 11 has at least one untreated cavity. Prevention and early detection are the best weapons against childhood tooth decay and other oral health problems. In fact, establishing good oral hygiene and oral healthcare practices at a young age helps to minimize the risk of oral health problems in adulthood.
At Oasis Pediatric Dental Care and Orthodontics, our dentists Dr. Nathalie Phaeton and Dr. Ki Youn Kil, along with our expert dental team, offer a range of pediatric dentistry services at our office in Falls Church, Virginia.
4 signs and symptoms of tooth decay
Tooth decay generally gets worse over time, and the longer you wait to see a dentist, the worse the cavity tends to be. The problem is that the symptoms of tooth decay sometimes take a while to show up, which is why prevention is the best strategy for both children and adults.
Brushing, flossing, eating a healthy diet, and going to the dentist for regular check-ups and dental cleanings are the best weapons against tooth decay. Sealants offer an extra line of defense against tooth decay for children.
Here are four of the most common signs of tooth decay:
If your child suddenly starts complaining of a toothache, a cavity is usually the culprit. Get in to see the dentist as soon as possible.
2. Sensitivity to hot or cold
If one or more teeth suddenly become sensitive to hot or cold drinks or food, it might be a sign of tooth decay. Tooth decay eats away at the enamel layer, which can make the teeth more sensitive to exposure.
3. White or brown spots
Tooth stains and discolorations are usually caused by food and drink, but white, brown, or black stains on a tooth are also signs of a cavity.
4. Visible pit or hole in the tooth
Depending on the size and location of the cavity, you may actually be able to see it. Schedule an appointment with the dentist right away if you notice any signs of tooth decay or other oral health problems.
To lower your child’s (and your own) risk of tooth decay, schedule a dental exam and cleaning every six months.
For more information about tooth decay prevention and treatment, call us at 703-498-2440, or schedule an appointment online.