Early tooth decay in children under 6 years of age is a major public health problem. We don’t see them coming, parents wrongly think that they don’t need to be treated and they can be a traumatic experience for the child.
Tooth Rapid Destruction
Parents often, don’t realize right away that baby teeth are decayed, because few think to bring their 3-year-old child for a dental check-up. A small spot or black spot on the tooth enamel is the first warning sign. The child is not in much pain except when he chews on his tooth, but since at this age he is often fed pureed or soft foods and he unfortunately does not use his teeth to chew. When the cavity reaches the nerve, it dies and an infection sets in, chronic. A small white spot appears on the gum, painless. But this chronic infection continues to destroy the tooth, has consequences on health and damages the bud of the permanent tooth buried under the milk tooth.
Baby bottle and breastfeeding
Early tooth decay in children is multifactorial. This means that many causes act simultaneously.
In 1978, this condition was called “bottle tooth decay” because it was found in babies who fell asleep with a bottle of milk or sugar water in their mouth. Then breastfeeding came back in fashion, breastfeeding on demand, but especially breastfeeding until the age of 2 or 3. It was realized that children who were breastfed beyond the age of one year had more cavities than others.
In 1998, the term “early childhood caries” was adopted.
Multiple Causes of Dental Cavities
By studying the risk factors and the environmental factors related to the mother and the child, several causes have been identified:
– Sleeping with a sugary bottle, prefer water with 2 drops of orange blossom and vary with other light herbal teas with soothing properties and according to the child’s taste.
– Breastfeeding beyond the age of 1 year can disturb some children in the acquisition of their autonomy. The growth of milk teeth shows the child that he is becoming autonomous, but breastfeeding keeps him dependent. Traditional Chinese Medicine has shown that this contradiction disrupts the mineral balance in connection with the kidney meridian.
– Bacterial transmission from mother to child through the mother’s saliva if she has cavities or periodontal disease (bleeding gums).
– Unhealthy eating habits (sugars, processed and industrial food)
– Poor oral hygiene (no or poorly performed brushing)
– Lack of education and prevention, unawareness of the importance of oral health.
– Anxiety of the mother, which puts the child under stress and causes a demineralized ground in the child.
– Mother/child fusional relationship, ill-defined space and territory. This draws on the vital energy of the kidney meridian according to traditional Chinese medicine, and disrupts the fixation of minerals, which makes the teeth fragile.
– Temperament and autonomy of the child, fears, lack of self-confidence, jealousy between brothers and sisters, relationship conflicts at school.
– Global relationship of the family in relation to the notion of territory and insecurity, both physical and emotional.
Milk Tooth Decay: Why Treat it ?
Some beliefs may lead you not to treat decayed baby teeth because they will fall out. This is a big mistake for several reasons:
– Decay is a breeding ground for bacteria, which is bad for the child’s health.
– Decay is an evolutionary process of destruction and therefore destroys the shape of the tooth which no longer has any reference points with the antagonist teeth, which leads to an imbalance of the jaws.
– A destroyed tooth has lost its volume and therefore no longer maintains the necessary space for the future permanent tooth, which will not have enough room to come out.
– The child is in pain if he presses on his tooth, so he only chews on one side, creating facial asymmetries. He can also avoid any chewing, continue to suck his food, swallowing remains at the primary stage with a bad positioning of the cervicals and an insufficiency of development of the jaws. The permanent teeth will not have enough room to align themselves harmoniously. This fills the orthodontic dental offices.
– When decay reaches the nerve and chronic infection sets in, it has a significant impact on the child’s overall health.
– With many cavities, the child cannot eat properly, causing deficiencies and nutritional imbalances.
– With black teeth, the child becomes socially withdrawn because he or she will quickly compare himself or herself to his or her peers with a bright smile
How to Treat Cavities in Young Children
First of all, refer to a pedodontist who is a dentist specialized in the care of children. Early tooth decay in children should be considered an emergency. Everything must be done to :
– Make the infections disappear
– Stop the cavities
– Restore damaged teeth
– Prevent future problems
The pedodontist will be able to advise you in all circumstances. Depending on the child’s cooperation, relaxation techniques, hypnosis, Meopa gas or, in extreme cases, general anesthesia will be used so that the child is not traumatized by the dental treatment and can start again on a good basis.
Prevention for Baby Teeth
Pedodontists recommend a first visit at one year of age, then every 4 months, in order to be able to intervene before the milk teeth are irreversibly damaged. Act on the causes, get informed, work closely with the pedodontist and your child will keep or regain his smile.
Catherine ROSSI Holistic Dental Surgeon in Paris