Nothing But the Tooth- Part II
We last chatted about how often very young kids get cavities. Of course, that darn bottle or sippy filled with milk, and the on demand breastfeeding in the middle of the night are the common culprits for the toddlers and littlest ones. How about the 3 year old and above? In this post I’ll focus on the most common pattern of cavities in this age group and will mention suggestions on how you can help your preschooler stay cavity free.
Statistically, most cavities in kids above age 4 shows up in the crevices that you’ll find on the top of their teeth. It just so happens, those grooves are in the same area that they chew with and food gets compressed right in there. Of course, those hard to brush grooves also house oral bacteria in the form of plaque, and the perfect groovy recipe for cavity troubles.
Hide and seek
The trickiest, and in my experience, most difficult cavities to fight off are those that show up in between two teeth that touch. They almost always stay hidden to the naked eye until a great deal of enamel and dentin destruciton has happened. Once a certain degree of internal tooth decay has taken place, the affected teeth start to chip and break off rapidly, leaving big defects in the integrity of the teeth involved. These cavities which start in between two teeth that touch are called “interproximal decay”. Other than staying hidden until trouble has taken over, these cavities most often affect two teeth at the same time. You can say that they are a double whammy. The detection of this type of cavity at time even poses a real challenge for many general or family dentists if they are not trained or dont have the right equipment for diagnosing interproximal cavities in the preschoolers.
In our next Nothing But the Tooth segment, we’ll talk about real solutions and “tooth truths” for managing these two type of cavities in the 3-6 year old children.
Dr J is a board certified pediatric dentist, serving his hometown in San Diego at one the most respected specialty practices, Scripps Pediatric Dentistry. He is an honors graduate of UC Berkeley, and UCLA School of Dentistry. His specialty training was completed as Chief Resident at UNC, one of only 2 three year pediatric programs in the US. He is an associate professor at UCLA in pediatric dentistry and on staff at Rady Children’s Hospital. He is also a proud father to two girls.