Frequent consumption of sugars from panela, chocolate, cookies, gums, cakes, soft drinks, artificial juices in bottles or boxes, and snacks, added to insufficient or inappropriate oral hygiene practices are directly related to dental caries. These habits favor the accumulation of dental plaque on the teeth and cause dental caries lesions to develop over time.
On the other hand, there are special groups that tend to more easily develop dental caries lesions, such as babies between 12 and 30 months (known as bottle caries, rampant caries, or early childhood caries); children between 6-7 years of age (time in which the first permanent molar or the 6-year-old tooth appears); patients with orthodontics or fixed or removable orthopedic appliances; patients suffering from “dry mouth” associated with medications, diseases or head and neck root; patients with special needs and patients with motor difficulties. Tooth decay not only affects tooth enamel, but also dentin, cementum, and consequently, the root of the teeth.
What Are The Symptoms Of Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay lesions are the reflection of dental caries disease, and the first clinical sign on the teeth are white, opaque, and rough spots that develop on the surfaces of the teeth where antibacterial plaque accumulates more easily, that is, on the molars, between one tooth and another, or on the front of the teeth near the gum. This type of injury is generally painless but requires control by the pediatric dentist. When these types of lesions advance, they can affect the enamel and dentin and cause pain caused by consuming food or drinks, and in more severe cases, it can affect the tooth’s nerve and cause spontaneous pain.
What About The Use Of Fluoride Toothpaste In Children?
Fluoride has proven to be a highly effective agent for the control of dental caries and its cariostatic effect is topical, that is, in contact with the tooth / bacterial plaque. Different dental associations in the world, such as the European Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the Latin American Association of Pediatric Dentistry recommend the use of fluoride toothpaste with at least 1,000 ppm of fluoride (this information is available at the back of toothpaste and is expressed as ppm F). Babies with at least one tooth and up to two years are recommended to use 1,000 ppm F toothpaste twice a day, equivalent to a grain of raw rice. Children between the ages of 2 and 6 can use toothpaste with at least 1, 000 ppm F twice a day equivalent to a pea (the concentration can be increased depending on the individual risk, determined by the pediatric dentist). Children over 6 years old should use 1,450 ppm F toothpaste twice a day.
Tooth decay is a common and communicable infectious disease caused by bacteria that affect teeth.
These bacteria adhere to tooth enamel (the outermost surface of the tooth) and metabolize dietary sugars, producing acids, which demineralize and weaken the tooth over time.
The Consequences Of Tooth Decay In Children Include:
- A higher chance of cavities in the permanent dentition
- Difficulty eating
- Facial swelling
- Emergency visits
- A more expensive treatment