As parents, we all want what is best for our children, and excellent dental health is no exception. Your child is likely to be more confident if he or she has a healthy, beautiful smile. Because proper digestion begins with proper eating and chewing habits, your child will also feel better physically when optimal oral health is maintained. Unfortunately, early childhood cavities affect thousands of children, and in today’s post, we’ll take a closer look at what this condition is and how you can help prevent it.

Looking for a reputable children’s dentist in San Marcos? Alligator Dental would love to meet you and your family. Our friendly dentists specialize in pediatric dentistry, and we gladly offer a wide range of dental treatments for kids. Whether your child needs a routine checkup and cleaning or if he or she has some type of dental emergency, we can help. Call 512-393-3500 today or schedule your child’s appointment online now.

What to Know About Early Childhood Cavities

What Defines an Early Childhood Cavity?

Also referred to as early childhood caries, or ECC, The American Dental Association defines early childhood cavities as the presences of one or more decayed, missing, or filled tooth surfaces in any primary tooth. These conditions occur when food, acid, bacteria, and saliva form plaque, eating away at a tooth’s surface enamel. While plaque and decay may be present in many young children, ECC only applies to children who are newborn to 71 months old. Although it might not seem like that big of a concern, ECC can pose a significant public health problem if proper treatment is not sought for the condition.

Are you concerned your child may have a dental cavity? As a leading children’s dentist in San Marcos, the staff at Alligator Dental are specially trained in spotting the first signs of decay and using innovative treatments to resolve the issue. If your child is exhibiting any signs of a cavity, please contact us right away to schedule an appointment.

What are the Symptoms of a Cavity?

It is important to understand that cavity symptoms may vary from child to child. However, there are a few symptoms that are more common than others. Children may experience pain in the affected tooth that comes and goes, and they may also experience sensitivity to certain foods, such as cold foods and sweets. In its earliest stages, the cavity may look like white spots on the teeth that change from light brown to black upon progression of the condition. Some children also experience pain when biting down on the affected tooth.

What Causes ECC?

When left unchecked, excessive amounts of plaque and bacteria in a child’s mouth are a recipe for disaster. While this is fairly common information, many parents may not be aware of the common causes of ECC. This unfortunate childhood dental condition is often called “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay” because of its relation to the old practice of “bottle propping” in which babies are sent to bed with a bottle to help soothe them to sleep. When children are allowed to go to bed with a bottle in their mouth, breast milk or formula is left to sit on and around the teeth, causing demineralization and eventually decay. Other activities such as prolonged nighttime feedings or allowing your child to walk around with a bottle can also contribute to ECC.

Ways to Prevent Early Childhood Cavities

One of the best ways that you can help foster optimal dental health for your child and prevent ECC is to use alternative methods to teach your child self-soothing techniques. Rather than sending your child to bed with a bottle, try incorporating a favorite blanket or toy into his or her nighttime routine. Soothing music has also proven beneficial, as has relaxing story time and rocking. Although it can be challenging to break bad bedtime habits with children, the earlier you start, the better. It may take time and incredible diligence on your part, but rest assured that the staff here at Alligator Dental is here to help you however we can. If you have questions or need advice on how to avoid early childhood caries, please call us.

What are the Dangers of ECC?

We all want to do what we can for our children to ensure they have a lifetime of good dental health. Early childhood cavities can cause several long-term problems for children, including:

  • Moderate to severe pain
  • Tooth decay and loss
  • Poor alignment of adult teeth
  • Problem with hearing and speech
  • Self-consciousness

You child’s adult dental health depends on the quality of his or her dental care received as a child. While regular cleanings and exams are essential to good oral health, practicing good oral hygiene practices at home are an integral part of your child dental health care routine.

Fun, Friendly Children’s Dentist in San Marcos

If you’re searching for a children’s dentist in San Marcos that has a kid-friendly dental office, look no further than Alligator Dental. We offer a wide variety of pediatric dental care, and whether you need preventative, restorative, or emergency care, we are here for you. Contact our friendly team now to get started!