Rampant dental caries in children is the sudden appearance of fast-growing cavities in more than ten teeth in the mouth. This type of caries appears mostly in small children of 2-5 years of age. Toddlers who drink formula, sweetened milk or juice from a bottle or sipper develop cavities in most of their teeth. The low pH of these drinks gives way to the growth of bacteria in the mouth if there is no brushing habit at night. The bacteria attack the teeth which cause cavities. The American Dental Association has termed this condition as ‘baby bottle tooth decay’
Cause of Rampant dental caries in children
When the baby is fed at night time and it put to sleep immediately the milk and its contents remain inside the mouth. The sugary contents in the milk are fermented by the bacteria and release acids. The tooth decay starts appearing as brownish discolouration of the teeth and dissolving the tooth structure. Mostly it affects the upper front teeth because the lower teeth are protected by the tongue. It starts with one tooth and affects the other neighboring teeth at a faster rate.
As an adolescent or adult, you too may be suffering from this condition if you consume high sugar, low pH drinks. There may be pain or discomfort while chewing or smiling which affects your social life as well. These multiple cavities may also be a sign of poor nutrition.
People especially teenagers, should limit sugars and increase the intake of water along with regular brushing habits.
Older adults with dry mouth also tend to have rampant tooth decay. Aging causes your saliva flow to decrease. Saliva is a natural cleanser, without which cavities appear and progress much faster than usual.
There is a common myth that a child does not have to clean its mouth until all the teeth have appeared. But that is not true. Regardless of whether the teeth have all erupted or not, your baby’s teeth should be brushed twice a day. Even for a baby with no teeth, you should use a finger brush to clean the gum pads. Many children start brushing their teeth on their own from as early as the age of five or six.
If your child is unable to or is reluctant to brush his teeth, as a mother or father you can clean his teeth and mouth twice daily with a finger brush.
Treatment for rampant dental caries in children
Dental decay is treated with the help of restorations – the decayed or diseased part is removed and then the tooth is filled with a suitable material. If the decay is too deep then you may require root canal treatment after which a cap is placed on the tooth.
The treatment success of a person with rampant decay depends on the changes they make in their oral habits, no matter how old they are. A balanced diet is a must, and so is a proper oral hygiene routine.
To avoid dental problems in the future make sure you maintain your oral hygiene once your treatment is completed.
It is very important to brush twice a day. Once in the morning and once before bedtime.
Importance of brushing in the morning
After your 8 hours of sleep, the microorganisms present in the mouth get enough time to harbour in the oral environment. When your child wakes up the next morning there is a lot of plaque and bacteria which need to be removed. This plaque and bacteria that reside in the mouth are the root cause of tooth decay. Also brushing in the morning gives your child a feeling of refreshment and helps them get rid of the bad breath.
Importance of brushing at night
Night-time brushing is very very important as children keep on eating during the day the food particles and debris get stuck on our teeth. If they sleep without brushing the microorganisms present in the mouth ferment the food that is left behind. The residual food in the mouth starts rotting. These acids released from the microorganisms dissolve the tooth structure and cause cavities
. Also, the fluoride content in the toothpaste gets more time to act on the tooth preventing tooth decay. Hence both morning and night-time brushing both are important and should be practiced without any laziness.
1) Your child needs to visit the dentist on his first birthday.
2) Clean your baby’s gums with a clean small cloth or gauze wrap it around your little finger and move it around the mouth on the gums.
3) Once the baby finishes drinking the milk feed him at least 2 spoons of water.
4) If your baby’s teeth have erupted then make your child drink water after all his meals.
5) Remind your child to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
6) Give your child more fibrous foods like cucumber, carrots and tomatoes after meals or snacks.
7) Watch your child over his/her eating habits.
8) Start brushing your child’s teeth once their teeth start appearing with a small children’s toothbrush.
9) Supervise your child while they brush their teeth and teach them the right technique of brushing right from their childhood.
10) Take your child to a dentist every year for regular dental checkups to make ensure he/she has good dental health.
11) If your child’s teeth are more prone to tooth cavities ask your dentist about pit and fissure sealants and fluoride treatments at the age of 6years.