You are brushing your little one's teeth when you notice a brown dot. Immediately you grab your phone and call your child's pediatric dentist for a routine check-up. But, is it too late to do something about it? Can a cavity be reversed?
Here's what you need to know.
Cavities are the result of untreated tooth decay. Decay is the result of acids that eat away the teeth's minerals.
The first stage of tooth decay is called demineralization and it occurs when bacteria and sugars interact and attach to your teeth. As the bacteria attacks the teeth, the enamel will start to decay. As the decay progresses and reaches the dentin, your child will most likely start experiencing pain. If the decay is not treated, it will reach deep under the tooth, all the way to the pulp. If the bacteria spreads beneath the pulp, then your child could get a severe infection, called an abscess.
Poor oral hygiene is usually the main culprit of dental cavities in children. It's important that you start taking care of your little one's oral health even before the first tooth emerges. You can start by cleaning their gums with a clean cloth after they are having their milk. Then, when the first tooth appears, you can start brushing their teeth with a finger toothbrush. Around this time, you should also schedule their first dentist appointment. Your dentist will teach you how to properly care for your child's teeth and advise you if you should use fluoride or fluoride-free toothpaste.
Yes, you can reverse a cavity if it's caught in the early stages of demineralization. To reverse a cavity at this stage, your child will need to practice good oral hygiene. They have to correctly brush their teeth two times a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss every night, and reduce the amount of sugar they consume. Rinse their mouth with water after they've eaten sugary foods if brushing is not possible at that moment.
If your child's cavities exceeded the demineralization stage, then, unfortunately, they can't be reversed. However, they can be treated and kept under control.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to notice a cavity in its early stages so you can take action immediately. So, pay attention to these signs too:
At Big Picture Pediatric Dentistry, you will find a team of compassionate and friendly dentists with a focus on patient education. You can always rest assured that your child will be in good hands with us.