Is It Normal for Children To Need Tooth Fillings?

Is It Normal for Children To Need Tooth Fillings?

If you have ever taken your child for a dentist appointment only to be told they need a filling, it is natural to feel a little embarrassed. You will no doubt feel completely responsible for this flaw in your child’s smile, but the truth is that it might be outside of your parental control. Despite your best efforts to get your child to brush twice a day for 2 minutes at a time and restricting the number of sugary snacks and drinks they consume, they may still be prone to dental cavities. To help put your mind at ease we are now going to reveal some of the factors that can impact the likelihood of your child needing tooth fillings.

Some children have a higher risk of cavities

We all have bacteria in our mouths, and sometimes as parents we can unknowingly pass some of this bad bacteria on to our children. Through sharing cutlery or a toothbrush, the bacteria that can cause cavities can be passed from parent to child, raising their risk of needing dental fillings. Your child may also be more susceptible to cavities if they have less saliva than normal.

Unhealthy diet

A diet that is high in sugar and starches can increase the risk of your child needing fillings. Carbohydrate laden foods contain sugar and starch that can easily stick to the teeth, causing plaque which can eventually lead to tooth decay. Allowing your child to eat too many sugary, starchy foods can increase their risk of needing tooth fillings in the future, so it’s a good idea to get them into healthy eating habits from a young age.

Poor oral hygiene

Poor oral hygiene is a major risk factor for needing fillings at any age. Not brushing correctly, for the recommended 2 minutes twice every day and not using floss or interdental brushes as recommended by your dentist, can result in tooth decay. Brushing and flossing in between the teeth helps to remove debris which can lead to the build up of cavity-causing plaque.

Lack of fluoride

If your child is drinking water from a source that doesn’t contain enough fluoride they might be at risk of developing cavities. Fluoride helps to make the enamel layer of teeth more resistant to acid attack, thus helping to slow the development of tooth decay. Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in water, but it is also added to many brands of toothpaste and to drinking water in certain areas. If you want to check how much fluoride is in your water, speak to your water company.

How do you know that your child needs a filling?

Dental decay can present itself differently in each child and sometimes you won’t even realise they are in need of a filling until you visit us. Often, though, there are some common signs and symptoms that you can look out for:

  • White spots on the tooth or areas of the tooth turning brown
  • Pain in or around the tooth
  • Sensitivity to certain foods or hot and cold drinks

What can you do to reduce the need for children’s tooth fillings?

As a parent there is plenty you can do to help reduce the likelihood of your child needing tooth fillings, such as:

  • Lead by example – children love to copy what their parents do, so you can set a great example by making a big show of how you brush your teeth every morning and evening. Having a good oral hygiene routine yourself will also reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in your mouth and therefore limit the chances of it spreading to your child.
  • Brush as soon as their first tooth appears – you’ll need to brush their teeth, tongue, and gums twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and from the age of two you can start to introduce flossing.
  • Don’t share a toothbrush or utensils with your child. Give them their own spoon or fork to eat from to prevent any harmful bacteria transferring from your mouth to theirs.
  • Encourage your child to eat a healthy balanced diet that limits sticky, sugary foods.

Our final piece of advice is to book your child in for regular visits so that we can keep an eye on their mouth, teeth and gums and provide any further advice you might need on preventing dental decay. Visiting our fun and friendly practice will get your child used to the dental care environment and reassure them that there is nothing to worry about.

Follow the link to find out more about our children’s tooth fillings or call us on 020 8646 6300 to book an appointment.