Leading Indicators of Pediatric Tooth Decay

Child in pain

One essential part of ensuring lifelong oral health is protecting the health of our teeth in our youth. The occurrence of cavities and other oral health concerns at this time can have a lasting impact on our adult health. This is due to the role that the primary, or baby, teeth play in setting up our smile in maturity. As a result, protecting these early teeth is one of the most important things we can do to help protect our smiles throughout our lives. Tooth decay is most often the result of the action of the streptococcus mutans bacteria that reside in our mouth. Learning to prevent biofilm growth and damage to our teeth is the first step to protecting our teeth.


The Leading Indicators of Pediatric Tooth Decay

Regardless of our stage, overconsumption of sugar can be a serious problem. In addition to the life-threatening potential of diabetes and related health conditions, sugar is the leading cause of tooth decay. White refined sugar and that found in cokes and candies are the first things that come to mind when discussing sugar. However, this isn’t the only source of sugars and acids that can harm our teeth. Carbohydrates are a form of nutrient that provides quick energy due to their ability to quickly convert to glucose in the body. However, this also means that it can serve as an abundant food source for the mutans bacteria. With sufficient resources, it’s trivial for this microorganism to produce acids that can weaken our enamel. Other contributing factors include:


  • Sugary diets or those high in carbohydrates
  • Lack of access to fluoridated water
  • Poor oral hygiene practices
  • Medical or health conditions that produce dry mouth symptoms


When tooth decay first appears, it’s usually in the form of white spot lesions on the enamel. These white spots on the teeth indicate weakened areas and are more vulnerable to erosion and advancing decay. While these spots may not be immediately available, you may identify them as white spots or streaks forming on your children’s teeth. Sometimes these white spots result from fluorosis or an overabundance of fluoride in your diet. Far more frequently, they appear due to acid damage to the enamel. Your child may hint that something is amiss if they mention that hot or cold food hurts their teeth. They may also indicate that sugary or acidic foods cause toothaches shortly after consumption.

Work With Your Dentist To Prevent Pediatric Cavities

There is no greater ally in your fight against tooth decay than your dentist. They have years of experience helping families like yours protect their smiles for a lifetime. Maintaining a steady routine of twice-yearly visits as the symptoms of tooth decay aren’t always obvious. Your child may not mention their symptoms, or they may even not develop them throughout the formation of a cavity. Visits to your dentist are the most effective way of preventing oral health concerns.


Alireza Movassaghi, D.D.S and Other Dentist Dr. Alireza Movassaghi brings 30 years of experience to the practice at Alvarado Family Dental Center. As a graduate of the USC School of Dentistry, he works tirelessly to expand access to dental care throughout the Los Angeles area. Along with his passion for expert dental care, he exhibits a love of soccer and beautiful cars.
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