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The Risks of Cavities in Children’s Molars

baby in high chair chewing on spoon

You’re brushing your child’s teeth when you spy a dark spot. Is that a cavity on your toddler’s molar? Cavities, even on baby teeth, are serious issues and should be treated as such. If you can’t brush away the spot, it may be a cavity, and it’s time to visit your child’s dentist.

How Do Cavities Form?

When children consume sugary foods or beverages (including ones you may have thought were safe, like fruit, milk, or bread) these sugars stick to children’s tooth enamel. Their normal oral bacteria then works on these sugars, turning them into acids.

The combination of acids with the bacteria and saliva present in children’s mouths forms plaque that sticks to the teeth. This plaque will eventually eat away at the enamel, leading to your toddler’s molar cavity.

What Are the Risks of Cavities?

Cavities in children’s molars and other teeth, if left untreated, can lead to serious consequences. Kids may experience pain when they chew, and that can make eating difficult.

Cavities can also lead to infections of the pulp of the tooth, which means a root canal might be necessary to repair it. Or, if the tooth is too far gone, your child’s dentist may remove the tooth.

To help adult teeth come in correctly, it helps to keep baby teeth intact for as long as possible. Losing a baby tooth to a cavity in your toddler’s molar can lead to misalignment of their adult teeth. It can also lead to overbites and other issues that will require orthodontia to fix.

Lastly, cavities can lead to bad breath or potentially speech impediments, which may negatively impact your child’s self-esteem.

How to Treat Cavities

Only a visit to your dentist will confirm for sure if your child has a cavity. They will inspect the area and, if it’s a cavity, they will treat it.

Treatment involves cleaning out the hole of all food matter and bacteria. Your child’s dentist will then likely fill the hole with some kind of composite filling. These fillings are usually tooth-colored so they blend with the rest of the teeth.

If necessary, a toddler’s molar cavity can also be treated with sedation. If your child is particularly afraid or has trouble sitting still, sedation might help them relax. Always ask your dentist for the best way to treat your child.

How to Prevent Cavities in Children’s Molars

The best prevention of cavities is proper oral health. Your child should be brushing their teeth twice per day, for a solid two minutes each time. They should use a toothpaste enhanced with fluoride, as this helps strengthen enamel.

For children that are too young to brush their own teeth, an adult will need to help them until they learn. Similarly, when they’re young, floss between their teeth for them to help prevent toddler molar cavities forming in tight spaces.

boy sitting in front of plate of fruit

Additionally, once they’re old enough, you can add a mouthwash to their routine. This is not a replacement for brushing and flossing regularly; however, it can help loosen and remove the last traces of food from your child’s mouth.

Limit sugary foods and beverages to ensure your child’s diet doesn’t lead to cavities. You can also have your little one brush their teeth right away after consuming anything sugary.

Regular visits to your pediatric dentist are also essential to prevent cavities in children’s molars. On these visits, your child’s dentist will inspect their teeth closely and provide a deep cleaning. Proper oral care at home is key, but the dentist has special tools and a different angle of viewing your child’s mouth, so they can spot and repair potential cavities in your toddler’s molars more easily.

Make an Appointment with Toothfairy Pediatric Dental Today

Whether you suspect your child has a cavity or need something else, Toothfairy Pediatric Dental has a wide range of oral health services to help. We provide regular cleanings, orthodontia, composite fillings, and more. We even have experience with special needs dentistry.

We welcome all children and their families and want to ensure everyone has a safe, fun, and relaxing experience at every one of our offices. Contact us to schedule your appointment or call us at (775) 800-4117.