Tooth decay in preteens is a fairly common condition that can also be prevented easily. The process is known as ‘caries’. In the early stages the teeth can develop white chalky areas. Towards the latter part of the process, they may turn brown or black. The teeth that are most commonly affected are the upper four baby teeth.
Signs of tooth decay in preteens
Sometimes it may be hard to catch on, that tooth decay is happening in the early stages. But here are some indications that you must keep an eye out for.
- A dull white band on the tooth surface closest to the gum line – this is the first sign and usually remains undetected by parents
- A yellow, brown or black band on the tooth surface closest to the gum line that indicates the progression to decay
- Teeth that look like brownish-black stumps – this indicates that the child has advanced decay.
Why is early detection of tooth decay in preteens important?
If you detect tooth decay in the earliest stages, the caries can be reversed sometimes with treatment from your dentist or an oral health professional. You can spare your child all the pain and the major dental procedures that they will have to go through later, if you nip the problem in the bud. Unfortunately because the early stages are so difficult to catch, most parents will not notice this until it is a bit too late.
How can you prevent tooth decay in preteens?
- Good feeding habits
- Providing water as the main drink from 12 months
- Avoiding juices and other sugary drinks
- Regular cleaning or brushing
- Regular dental checks with an oral health professional from the age of two
Early care that can help prevent tooth decay in preteens
- Start to clean your baby’s teeth as soon as the first tooth comes through. Use a wet cloth or a small children’s toothbrush with water.
- From 18 months to six years of age, use a small pea-sized amount of children’s low-fluoride toothpaste on a small, soft toothbrush.
- At six years of age children can use a pea-sized amount of standard fluoride toothpaste.
- If you live in an area that doesn’t have fluoride in the drinking water, ask your dentist about the right toothpaste for your child.
- Brush teeth and along the gum line twice a day; in the morning and at night before bed.
- Children will need an adult to help them brush their teeth until they can do it well by themselves (usually about eight years of age).