When you have a toddler, it can feel like you're doing a whole lot more chasing after them than you are talking to them, which is one thing that makes identifying if they have a cavity or not a lot more difficult. While older children can articulate when they have something wrong with them like a cavity, younger children aren't quite able to do that which means that you have to look for signs and clues that they need to see the dentist.
1. Black Dots on Their Teeth
First things first: understanding what a cavity is will help you identify one when you see it. Cavities are small holes in the teeth that can cause a variety of issues including pain or even infection. Unless your toddler is some sort of tooth brushing genus, you probably still help them brush their teeth both morning and night.
When you are brushing for them, take a look at the condition of their teeth. Do you notice anything out of the usual like black dots on their teeth? Try to brush the dots and then see if they go away. If they don't, then they may be a cavity.
2. Loss of Appetite
Getting your toddler to eat can feel like pulling teeth, but if they need to have a tooth pulled and aren't eating because of it, it can be a lot worse. Try giving your toddler some of their favorite foods. Are they avoiding everything? Are they favoring one side over the other when they are chewing? Are they complaining that they don't want to eat because their teeth hurt? These are all big signs that they have a cavity that needs to be filled.
3. Facial Swelling
If a cavity isn't treated, then it can get infected, which can result in visible facial swelling around the jaw and cheeks. If you notice any swelling, you can do some things including:
- Scheduling an appointment with your family dentist right away
- Icing the area with a soft ice pack
- Giving your child children's Tylenol or ibuprofen (depending on their age)
Having sick kids or kids with dental problems can feel devastating as a parent, but the good news about cavities is that a local family dentist can take care of them right away. If you want to learn more about your family's oral health, reach out to a dentist in your area.