Dental caries or tooth decay, is a bacterial disease whoch affects both adults and children. If left untreated, it may become a lifelong problem. Tooth decay is an infectious disease which is usually transmitted when children share kitchen utensils with the affected adults or through kissing.
Dental cavities are likely to emerge,when caries-causing bacteria appear in oral cavities on the vulnerable surface of teeth and convert lactose, glucose, sucrose and other simple sugars into lactic acid which dissolves minerals on the enamel of teeth. Tooth decay can be caused by consumption of the medications that negatively influence the enamel. The deficiency of calcium and fluorine in the nutrition contributes to the development of dental cavities in children.
- High levels of the bacteria that cause cavities
- Diets high in sweets, carbohydrates, and sugars
- Water supplies with limited or no fluoridation
- Poor oral hygiene
- Reduced salivary flow
- Age (children and older adults are at an increased risk for tooth decay)
Signs and Symptoms of Childhood Caries
White spots on the tooth enamel are the first sign of dental caries. These white spots cause no disturbing feelings at first. If not treated, the bacteria may break through the enamel and affect the underlying dentine which is a much softer tissue in the tooth structure. As the infection progresses, it inflames the pulp tissue. Thus, touch and pressure on the carious tooth provoke pain.
Diagnosis of Tooth Decay
Tactile and visual examinations are likely to detect dental caries
Brush the teeth, tongue, and gums twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste
For children less than 3 years old, use only a small amount of toothpaste
Starting at 3 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
Well-balanced diet and limit or eliminate sugary snacks.
Consult dentist about the use of supplemental fluoride.
Treatment, in most cases, requires removing the decayed part of the tooth and replacing it with a filling.