Early Childhood Tooth Decay
About Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is a transmissible infection caused by bacteria, namely, Streptococcus mutans & Lactobacillus. The bacteria feed on what you eat producing acids which destroy tooth structure. The result being dental decay which requires dental surgical intervention. Dental surgical intervention removes the tooth decay, but does not alter the fact that your child has a bacterially infected mouth. To prevent future decay the oral environment needs to change.
PREVENTING TOOTH DECAY
Four things are necessary for cavities to form:
- A tooth
- Sugars or other carbohydrates
We can share with you how to make teeth strong, keep bacteria from organizing into harmful colonies, develop healthy eating habits, & understanding the role that time plays. Remember, decay is an infection of the tooth. Visiting us early can help avoid unnecessary cavities & dental treatment. The pediatric dental community is continually doing research to develop new techniques for preventing dental decay & other forms of oral disease. Studies show that children with poor oral health have decreased school performance, poor social relationships & less success later in life. Children experiencing pain from decayed teeth are distracted & unable to concentrate on schoolwork.
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IMPORTANCE OF PRIMARY TEETH (BABY TEETH)
It is very important that primary teeth are kept in place until they are naturally lost. These teeth serve a number of critical functions.
- Maintain good nutrition by permitting your child to chew properly.
- Are involved in speech development.
- Help the permanent teeth by saving space for them.
”A healthy smile can help children feel good about the way they look to others.” -American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry 2004
Tooth Decay is the Result of an Imbalance Between Two Factors: Pathological Factors & Protective Factors
- Caries Risk Assessment starting in infancy, no later than the first birthday & continuing throughout life
- Caries Susceptibility Testing
- Bacteria Culture Testing to monitor the pathogenic bacteria, Streptococcus & Lactobacillus
- Dental Plaque pH Testing to measure for bacterially produced acids
Elevated levels of pathological bacteria in conjunction with other risk factors require intervention beyond parentally supervised oral hygiene and dietary changes.
THERAPY MAY INCLUDE:
- Sodium Bicarbonate
- Calcium & Phosphate Replacement
- Continual Monitoring of Risk Factors and Pathogenic Bacterial Level