Did you know that tooth decay is the most common long-term childhood disease? Children of any age can get tooth decay, even babies and toddlers. And tooth decay is five times more common than asthma. The good news is that tooth decay can be prevented!
What causes tooth decay?
Bacteria in the mouth change the sugar in foods and drinks into acid that attacks the teeth. Each time you eat or drink, that acid can attack the teeth for 20 minutes or longer. Over time tooth decay can develop and a cavity can form.
How does tooth decay affect baby teeth?
Tooth decay in the primary (baby) teeth of young children is also called early childhood caries. Caries is another word for a cavity. It happens when the child’s teeth come into contact with sugary foods and drinks often and for long periods of time. These drinks include fruit juices, soda and other drinks with sugar.
Parents are often surprised to learn that tooth decay can begin as soon as a baby’s teeth come in, usually by age six months. Decay in baby teeth can cause pain, and the infection can spread. If decay is not treated, it can destroy the baby teeth.
Tooth decay can also have an effect on a child’s general health. If a child has tooth pain, she may have trouble eating. The child may not get enough vitamins and minerals to grow up healthy.
Decay in Baby Teeth
1. Healthy baby teeth
2. Moderate to severe decay
3. Moderate to severe decay
4. Severe decay