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6 Symptoms of Cavities and Poor Dental Hygiene in Kids

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Every parent wants their child to have the healthiest teeth and mouth they can. But getting kids to brush twice a day and keep up excellent dental hygiene can be tough. If your child starts to slip into bad habits it helps to be able to tell the symptoms of poor dental hygiene.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 20% of American children age 5-11 have at least one untreated cavity. By identifying poor oral care habits, parents and caregivers can help prevent cavities and other oral health conditions.

At Toothfairy Pediatric Dental in Reno, our office works diligently to help educate parents on all types of oral care issues. We asked Dr. Ben Salar about what common symptoms parents and caregivers should look for to avoid cavities in children. Here’s his top six:

Poor Dental Hygiene Symptom #1: White Spots on Teeth

As an adult, you understand the importance of brushing teeth twice daily. But do you know why it’s so important? Brushing teeth helps sweep away bacteria and food particles that try to make themselves at home on the surface of the teeth and gums. If these invaders are not brushed away twice each day, they can turn into a filmy substance called plaque.

Over time, if plaque isn’t brushed off the teeth, white spots can start to appear on the surface of the teeth. This hard substance is called tartar, and it’s a pre-cavity warning sign that can only be removed from the teeth at the dentist’s office. Keep tartar from forming by encouraging and monitoring your child’s teeth brushing regiment.

Poor Dental Hygiene Symptom #2: Yellowing Teeth

kid drinking from soda cup

What happens when a child’s “pearly whites” aren’t as bright as they used to be? Although there can be many reasons that teeth turn yellow, it’s typically an indicator of poor brushing habits or choices in diet. Yellowing teeth are often a sign of staining, frequently caused by an excess of sugary drinks such as sodas or juice. These discolor the tooth enamel over time.

One of the best ways to make sure your child keeps their smile bright is by encouraging good eating habits and limiting their intake of sugary drinks and candy. Teach them that these types of snacks are fine for an occasional treat, but not for daily consumption.

Poor Dental Hygiene Symptom #3: Black or Brown Teeth

What happens when your child keeps brushing a certain tooth and it never seems to get clean? In cases like these, the top of the tooth might seem to look like a piece of chocolate is wedged in the crown, unable to get loose. When this occurs, you’re likely looking at a cavity, also called a dental carry. A cavity is a permanent hole in the tooth that can get worse over time if it’s not addressed. A cavity will never get better on its own, you’ll have to see a dentist.

If your child suffers from black or brown teeth, make an appointment with your child’s pediatric dentist immediately. Depending on the extent of the damage, your dentist may recommend a filling, pulpal therapy, or possibly pulling the tooth altogether.

The good news? Dental caries are typically avoided through good oral care habits. Again, ensure your child is brushing twice a day for two minutes each time. Flossing between the teeth once a day is also extremely important.

Poor Dental Hygiene Symptom #4: Bleeding Gums

child with hand on mouth

If your child’s gums bleed intermittently without warning, or if they often bleed after they brush their teeth, there could be an issue. Typically, gums bleed when a child suffers from gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). Because the gums are inflamed and tender, they might bleed with just the slightest touch.

If you suspect your child is suffering from gingivitis, schedule your child for their semi-annual cleaning and checkup with their pediatric dentist. If it’s still several months until your next scheduled appointment, call the office and ask for a consultation.

Poor Dental Hygiene Symptom #5: Bad Breath

Bad breath is often “treated” with a swish of mouthwash or a stick of gum, but oftentimes these quick remedies only mask a greater problem. What’s causing this persistent halitosis in the first place?

Most cases of halitosis come from regularly leaving out one of the steps of proper teeth brushing. Some children neglect to use enough toothpaste to properly sweep bacteria out of the mouth, which in turn causes bad breath. Others forget that part of their teeth brushing regimen should include brushing their tongue as well. You’d be surprised how much bacteria hides on the tongue, which will cause bad breath if not addressed daily.

Poor Dental Hygiene Symptom #6: Tooth or Jaw Pain

Does your child wince when drinking hot or cold beverages? Do you notice that they seem to be in pain when brushing their teeth? If your child deals with sensitive teeth and gums on a regular basis, it’s a telltale sign of a deeper problem.

If your child experiences persistent pain in their tooth or jaw, the pediatric dentist will want to see them as soon as possible. It may be necessary to take pediatric dental x-rays to get a complete look at the mouth to make a better diagnosis.

The Best Remedy for Poor Dental Hygiene Symptoms: Treatment by Toothfairy Pediatric Dental

If you live in the Reno area and you notice that your child is suffering from any of these issues, it’s time to take a trip to Toothfairy Pediatric Dental. Our kind and compassionate staff will help your child by dealing with any pain or discomfort in their mouth, and build habits for keeping teeth they’ll be proud of their whole life long.

Don’t ignore the symptoms of poor dental hygiene, as none of these issues will go away on their own. Our office is here to help! Don’t forget that we have convenient night and Saturday appointments, and we also accept most dental insurance plans as well.

Contact our offices today so we can set your child up with an appointment.

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