Pediatric dentistry and cavity prevention

Dental cavities remain a significant public health concern in Canada, highlighting the importance of ongoing efforts to improve oral health education, access to preventive services, and dental care for children across the country. Regular dental check-ups, proper oral hygiene practices, and a healthy diet are essential for maintaining good oral health and preventing dental cavities in children. In this article we’ll talk about baby teeth, answer some common questions about childhood cavities and fillings. 


Childhood dental caries are on the rise

The increase in dental cavities among children today compared to previous decades is primarily attributed to dietary changes, including higher consumption of sugary and acidic foods, increased snacking habits, decreased fluoride exposure, poor oral hygiene practices, limited access to dental care, and the availability of processed foods. These factors highlight the need for comprehensive strategies to promote healthier lifestyles and improve oral health outcomes in children.

All about baby teeth

Primary teeth, also known as baby teeth, are temporary and will eventually be replaced by permanent teeth. However, despite being temporary, primary teeth play crucial roles in a child’s oral health, including proper chewing, speech development, and guiding the eruption of permanent teeth.

While primary teeth may not need to be as strong as permanent teeth, they are still susceptible to decay and other dental problems. In fact, because primary teeth have thinner enamel and smaller sizes, they can be more vulnerable to decay than permanent teeth. Additionally, cavities in primary teeth can lead to pain, discomfort, infection, and other complications if left untreated.

For more about caring for your infant’s teeth, read
Infant and Toddler Oral Health Part 1: What Every Parent Should Know and
Infant and Toddler Oral Health Part 2: Early Childhood Nutrition Guide 

How will I know if my child has tooth decay?
Dental cavities on kids teeth often appear on the surface of the tooth as dark or grey spots. The best way to monitor the health of your littles one’s teeth is to start bringing them to the dentist every six months starting when their first tooth erupts. If you notice any signs of decay on the surface of your childs teeth, or if they start to complain about tooth pain or discomfort, you might be dealing with an early childhood cavity and should take them to a dentist as soon as possible. 


What if my child develops early childhood caries? 

You might think that if your child has carries or decay in their baby teeth, it doesn’t matter because the baby teeth will soon be replaced with intact, healthy adult teeth. However,it’s still important to get them treated, even though these teeth will eventually fall out. 


Do baby teeth really need fillings?
Yes, fillings are usually recommended for temporary primary. 

5 reasons why fillings or other treatments may be necessary for baby teeth

  1. To prevent pain and infection: cavities can cause pain and discomfort for your child, and untreated decay can lead to dental infections. Getting cavities filled helps alleviate pain and reduces the risk of infection.
  2. To maintain function of the teeth: Baby teeth play a crucial role in speech development, proper chewing, and guiding the eruption of permanent teeth. If cavities are left untreated, they can compromise the function of the affected teeth, potentially impacting your child’s ability to eat, speak, and maintain proper oral health.
  3. To prevent the spread of decay: cavities in baby teeth can spread to neighboring teeth if left untreated, leading to more extensive decay and potential complications. By filling cavities promptly, you can prevent the spread of decay and preserve as much healthy tooth structure as possible.
  4. To support proper alignment for permanent teeth: Baby teeth serve as placeholders for permanent teeth. If decayed baby teeth are lost prematurely due to untreated cavities, it can affect the alignment of permanent teeth, potentially leading to orthodontic issues later on.
  5. To promote lifelong oral health: Addressing cavities in baby teeth teaches children the importance of dental care and establishes good oral hygiene habits early in life, which can contribute to better oral health outcomes in the long run.


Is fluoride safe for kids?

Fluoride is one of the most effective ways to prevent early childhood caries. When used correctly and in moderation, fluoride toothpaste is completely safe for kids. Follow our guidelines below! 


Here are our guidelines for using fluoride toothpaste with kids: 

  • For children under 3 years old: Use a smear of fluoride toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice. Encourage spitting out excess toothpaste and supervise to ensure they don’t swallow it.
  • For children 3 to 6 years old: Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Again, encourage spitting and supervise brushing to prevent swallowing.
  • Teach children to spit out excess toothpaste rather than swallowing it. This helps minimize the risk of ingesting too much fluoride.
  • Store toothpaste out of reach of children to prevent accidental ingestion.
  • If you have specific concerns about a particular toothpaste or its ingredients, it’s best to consult with a pediatric dentist or healthcare professional for personalized advice.


The best dental care for kids ensures lifelong oral health 

Maintaining the health of primary teeth is important for ensuring overall oral health and proper development of permanent teeth. It’s essential to take good care of primary teeth by practicing proper oral hygiene, limiting sugary foods and drinks, scheduling regular dental check-ups, and addressing any dental issues promptly. Read more about pediatric dentistry at BLOK Dental Stuido here


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