Caries in children and babies
Caries in young children remains a problem in our society. Even though paediatric dental care has improved considerably thanks to a number of measures, carious teeth in babies and children are still widespread.
What are the causes of caries in milk teeth?
The enamel on milk teeth is only around half as thick as that on permanent teeth. After eating sugary foods, the bacteria on the teeth produce aggressive acids. These release calcium and phosphate out of the enamel, which is made of 97% hydroxyapatite. How does this result in caries? If the bacteria are not brushed away properly and acids continue to be produced, the enamel becomes ever thinner and increasingly porous. The bacteria can now easily penetrate into the tooth and lead to a painful inflammation. Due to the thinner enamel, caries results more quickly in children and infants than in adults. Saliva normally ensures that after eating sugary foods the enamel becomes hard again (remineralises). The natural remineralisation of the teeth is one of the main functions of saliva. Yet since less saliva is produced overnight, it is particularly important before going to bed to clean children's teeth thoroughly. The risk of caries in milk teeth is increased considerably by the consumption of sweets, long periods of drinking sugary drinks or irregular or ineffective tooth cleaning. That is why parents should make sure that their children eat a well-balanced diet and should also ensure regular tooth care and tooth prophylaxis.
Why is looking after milk teeth just as important as looking after permanent teeth?
Caries in the milk teeth of children and babies has an impact on the permanent teeth. Thorough dental hygiene with regular prophylactic cleaning is important as of the first tooth. In addition, children with (milk tooth) caries not only suffer from the associated pain in their daily lives, childhood caries can, for example, also result in speech disorders and malposition of the permanent teeth. Dental health is an issue that affects all of us for our entire lives, right from the very first tooth.
How can I recognise caries in children?
Parents can recognise milk tooth caries in children and infants by means of a variety of symptoms:
- When they complain of toothache when eating sweet, hot or cold foods.
- Dark discolorations can also be a sign of caries.
- In the worst case scenario, a hole can be seen in the tooth. You should then arrange an appointment to see the dentist immediately.
However, either no or only very minor symptoms are experienced for a long time. Regular trips to the dentist to prevent caries is all the more important as he or she can recognise invisible forms of caries at an early stage. Today, many dentists specialise in treating sensitive patients and have a range of tips and tricks up their sleeves for dispelling children's fears and distracting them.
How is caries treated?
To determine the right approach for treating childhood caries, a trip to the dentist is a must. He or she will determine what kind of treatment is required for your child depending on how advanced the caries is. The longer the tooth has been under attack and the longer the hole has existed, then the more complex the dental intervention will be. That's why you should always arrange to see the dentist as soon as possible.
How can I prevent childhood caries?
Parents play a very important role here and assume a lot of responsibility for the care of their children's teeth. For example, they must ensure that their children eat a well-balanced diet and consume as little sugar as possible. After all, sugar activates caries pathogens. Thorough and regular dental and oral hygiene is the basis for healthy milk teeth, which, in turn, are important for a healthy and attractive permanent dentition. To this end, it must be ensured that all the teeth are reached when cleaning. The molars, for example, are harder to access yet should not be neglected under any circumstances. With the correct brushing technique, the teeth are always brushed in a specific order: Using the COI technique, first the chewing surfaces are cleaned, followed by the outside surfaces and finally the inside surfaces. Children can remember this easily so that no tooth is forgotten. Above and beyond this, regular trips to the dentist are also important for dental health and caries prophylaxis in children and infants. The products from Karex are ideal for caries prophylaxis in children.
Why does Karex not offer a children's toothpaste with fluoride?
Kinder Karex toothpaste with the toothlike active ingredient hydroxyapatite is ideal for caries prophylaxis for all age groups. What's more, with Kinder Karex you don't have to worry if your child or baby should occasionally swallow the toothpaste. The natural active ingredient is well-tolerated and simply dissolves in the stomach. In the case of fluoride a maximum permitted concentration must be observed, which varies according to age. Too much fluoride must be avoided as otherwise fluorosis could occur (marks on the permanent teeth).