NCDS Newsroom

Public News Service: Children’s Dental Health Month: Tooth Decay Warning Signs Explained

More than 20% of U.S. children 2 to 5 years old, and 52% of children 6 to 8 have dental cavities - according to a report published last year in the journal Pediatrics.

During Children's Dental Health Month, North Carolina dentists are shedding light on the warning signs of tooth decay in kids - which include brown or black spots on teeth, dental pain and increased tooth sensitivity.

Dr. LaJoi Wiggins - associate pediatric dentist with All Kids Pediatric Dentistry in Charlotte - explained that untreated tooth decay in kids can led to hospitalization, as well as malnutrition.

"So your child not getting their proper nutrient vitamins because they find it difficult to eat," said Wiggins, "or maybe the item is too sweet or it's too cold because of sensitivity."

February is a good time of year for parents to shift toward healthier dental habits.

Wiggins recommended regular brushing of teeth and gums, flossing and scheduling a routine cleaning and exam appointment with their child's provider.

Wiggins noted that because many parents prioritize medical care over dental care, tooth problems fester and become worse without early intervention - which she said can have consequences for a child's growth and development.

"If there's early loss of teeth, it's going to cause a lot of issues when it comes to crowding, spacing issues," said Wiggins. "More kids who lose teeth early often have to go through braces, which can be costly."

Studies have shown dental pain can affect young children's quality of life, including missing meals, skipping physical activity and more trips to the dentist.
Source: Public News Service