tooth decay blog

Common Disease Among Children: Tooth Decay Tips To Avoid the Disease

What is the most common chronic disease for children?

Dental decay!

What is Disease

What does it mean for your child to have a chronic disease? A disease, by definition, refers to any condition that impairs the normal functioning of the body. If your child has asthma, they have a disease. Their normal body function is impaired. If your child has the flu, they have a disease. Their normal body function is impaired. Like asthma and the flu, dental decay can impair normal body function.

Tooth Decay

Dental decay is a silent process. It is silent in the sense that, many times, a decayed tooth will not cause any symptoms or discomfort until the disease has significantly progressed. Most people do not pursue treatment of a disease until their normal body function is impaired. This can be quite an unfortunate mistake when it comes to “silent diseases” like dental decay. This is an unfortunate mistake for two reasons:

  1. Once dental decay has impaired normal body function, the treatment is usually more extensive, and more expensive.
  2. Dental decay is not only treatable, it is preventable!

Let’s think back to the flu and the asthma examples from earlier. How do you prevent your child from getting the flu? You may have them get a flu shot. You may have them wash their hands before every meal. How do you prevent your child from having an asthma attack? You may have an inhaler for them to use before exercising. You may know their limitations and prevent asthma attacks simply by behavior control.
So, what needs to be done to prevent tooth decay? You can have your children wash their hands to prevent them from getting the flu. What about having your children brush their teeth to prevent them from getting cavities? You can monitor behavior to prevent major asthma attacks. What about monitoring behavior to limit sugar intake and minimize dental decay?

The Truth

You may be thinking to yourself right now, “my child washes their hands, but still gets the flu;” or “I try to monitor my child’s activity level to prevent asthma attacks, but they still run outside and have an occasional asthma attack.” That is reality! You may feel that same way about dental decay. “My child brushes their teeth, but still gets cavities;” or “I monitor my child’s diet to minimize sugar intake, but they still get cavities.” You are not alone if you feel that way! Fortunately, with dental decay prevention, there is more advice for you! Try these tips to help prevent tooth decay in your children.

The Tips

What are the extra tips for preventing dental decay?

1. Be aware of family dental history!

Research continues to show that bacteria can be passed from mother or father to their child. If you as a parent remember having many cavities, there is a good chance your child could have your same, or a similar, aggressive oral bacteria population! They may be more prone to dental decay from the start, and need more significant prevention methods!

2. Crackers cause cavities too!

Many parents say, “my child does not eat that much candy or drink that much soda!” Well, those are not the only kinds of sugars in our diet! Breads, pretzels, crackers, and many other seemingly harmless foods contain carbohydrates that break down into sugars and cause cavities just like candy and soda!

3. Brush, brush, then brush some more! (and help!)

Get the debris off the teeth! Your kids are going to snack. You just have to make sure they clean the debris off their teeth by frequently brushing the food particles off after eating! And make sure they are brushing properly. Do not assume a three-year-old that can barely tie a shoe has the ability to properly brush teeth!
Your children deserve the best. Be aware of what is happening inside their mouth. Do not let the disease of dental decay silently disintegrate your child’s teeth until they lose function of their mouth! Dental decay is the most common chronic disease amongst children, but it should not be! Follow the tips above, and contact our office for a cleaning and exam to prevent dental decay in your child’s teeth!

Author Info

Dr. Connor Hollowwa

Dr. Connor Hollowwa is an Albuquerque native. He graduated from the Albuquerque Academy and went on to receive a BA from Rice University. His Doctorate of Dental Surgery is from Creighton University School of Dentistry. Before joining private practice he practiced at the state-of-the-art Isleta Health Center’s Dental Clinic, providing modern dental care for the members of the Pueblo of Isleta. In his free time he enjoys playing the piano, fly-fishing, golfing, and skiing.