According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), cavities — which is a common term for tooth decay — is actually common. If your child hasn’t had cavities before, they probably don’t know what it feels like or if it feels like anything at all. The answer would depend on how early or far along the decay is and what your child eats.
In general, certain food items, particularly sweets, could easily trigger pain from a cavity than other kinds of foods. But how could your child get cavities?
How Cavities Develop
The mouth is inherently full of all sorts of bacteria — some are perfectly healthy, while some could harm your dental health. When your child eats sweets, drinks beverages full of sugar, or munch on chips a lot of times in a day, the sugar and starch in those food items would feed the bacteria.
In turn, the bacteria would produce acid that — if not cleaned as soon as possible — could damage the tooth’s enamel bit by bit and result in a cavity. Fortunately, a cavity in its earliest stages could be reversed by avoiding sugary food and brushing the teeth with fluoride toothpaste, especially after eating sweets.
Common Warning Signs of Cavities
During its earliest stages, your child might not feel that they have a cavity because the tooth’s enamel doesn’t have nerves, meaning that when a cavity is forming in that layer, your child won’t be able to feel it. When a cavity reaches the tooth’s insides where all the nerves and dentin are, your child would sure feel it. Their teeth might feel painful and sensitive, particularly after eating cold and hot food. Some individuals likewise feel pain when biting down and chewing.
Depending on your child’s pain threshold, the pain might be intense and sharp or relatively mild. Additionally, depending on what stage a cavity is in, you might see white, brown, or black stains on your child’s tooth, or an obvious hole in the affected tooth.
What to Do if Your Child has Cavities
If you suspect or clearly see that your child has a cavity, you need to visit a pediatric dentist in Utah County as soon as possible. While a cavity is irreversible during its early stages, if your child is already feeling pain or significant discomfort, you need to have your dentist treat it.
Depending on the severity of the cavity, your dentist might need to take X-rays of it to establish how far along it is. Once your dentist has determined the severity of your child’s cavity, treatment options could include filling it to prevent further decay, performing a root canal to try and save the affected tooth, or pulling out the tooth and replacing it with a dental crown.
Cavities, specifically in younger children, are more difficult to notice so it’s immensely crucial that you take your child to your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. Your dentist could also apply fluoride to your child’s teeth to strengthen them and combat early warning signs of tooth decay.