What causes tooth decay in children?
Tooth decay in children is caused by the buildup of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth. When plaque comes into contact with sugary or starchy foods, the bacteria in the plaque produce acids that can eat away at the enamel, the hard, protective coating on the surface of the teeth. If tooth decay is not treated, the acid can continue to damage the tooth, eventually leading to cavities and tooth loss.
Some of the risk factors that can increase the likelihood of tooth decay in children include:
A diet high in sugar and starchy foods: Consuming sugary and starchy foods and drinks, such as candy, cookies, soda, and juice, can increase the risk of tooth decay, as these foods and drinks are easily broken down by the bacteria in plaque, leading to the production of acid.
Poor oral hygiene: Children who do not brush and floss their teeth regularly or who do not receive regular dental checkups are more likely to develop tooth decay.
Lack of fluoride: Fluoride is a mineral that helps to strengthen tooth enamel, making it more resistant to decay. Children who do not have access to fluoridated water or who do not receive fluoride treatments at the dentist are more likely to develop tooth decay.
Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and acid reflux, can increase the risk of tooth decay in children.
Dry mouth: Saliva helps to wash away plaque and neutralize acids. Children with dry mouth, either due to medical conditions or medications, are more susceptible to tooth decay.
What should I do when teeth decay in children?
If your child has tooth decay, it is important to seek treatment right away
When do children’s teeth fall out?
Children’s primary teeth, also known as baby teeth, typically begin to fall out around the age of 6 and continue to fall out until around age 12. The lower front teeth are usually the first to fall out, followed by the upper front teeth. The molars, which are located in the back of the mouth, are typically the last to fall out, with the lower second molars falling out around age 12 and the upper second molars falling out around age 14.