Early Signs of Tooth Decay in Baby Teeth

Early Signs of Tooth Decay in Baby Teeth

Did you know that children can develop tooth decay as soon as they sprout their first tooth? The American Dental Association says that some children experience tooth decay at just 6 months old

At Kids Dental Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, our kid-friendly pediatric dentist Bosede Adeniji, DDS, and caring team of specialists understand the oral health needs of young patients. We go the extra mile to help parents recognize possible problems and get the support they need. 

Sometimes the early signs of baby tooth decay can be subtle, and they might be missed. Here’s what you can look for and what to do if you find a problem.

Early signs of decay in baby teeth

In its early stages, tooth decay may look quite different than it does in advanced stages. Some of the signs to watch out for are: 

White spots

White spots are often the first sign of baby tooth decay. They can appear anywhere on baby teeth. They may look like dots, splotches, or a band running along the gum line. 

Because your child’s baby teeth are naturally white, this sign can be easy to miss. But, if you look carefully, you can usually see that the potentially decayed areas are a brighter white than the rest of the tooth. 

Although white spots are often a sign of baby tooth decay, they may also appear if your child gets too much fluoride. We recommend following ADA guidelines by brushing your child’s teeth with a small smear of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of one grain of rice) until age 3. 

From ages 3-6, increase the toothpaste to a pea-sized amount. This combined with fluoridated water (94% of our state has it here in Maryland) gives your child adequate fluoride without overdoing it. 

Tooth sensitivity

Does your child seem reluctant to eat? Do they complain of discomfort when they eat or drink hot or cold food and beverages? Are they suddenly less interested in candy? 

It might be because all of these things can cause pain in a decayed tooth. Tooth sensitivity may indicate tooth decay, even if there aren’t any obvious outward issues. 

Tooth discoloration

Tooth discoloration can range from a mild darkening (early stages) to a more significant browning (advanced stages). This type of discoloration usually indicates a cavity that needs treatment. 

Worried about baby tooth decay? 

If you recognize any of these signs of baby tooth decay, don’t panic: Our team can restore your child’s oral health. We’re known for treating children with compassion, and we provide gentle sedation dentistry to ensure your child’s comfort. 

If your child experiences dental anxiety, visiting the dentist may seem stressful for both of you. Dr. Adeniji offers an innovative alternative to dental drills called air abrasion. This approach eliminates dental drill noise and vibrations and can remove decay precisely without anesthesia.

We can also apply fluoride treatments and varnish to protect your child’s teeth against additional decay. 

Concerned about some of these issues with your child’s teeth? Contact us online or give us a call at  301-345-2881 to connect with our pediatric dentistry experts now.

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