Tooth Decay Specialist

Harbor Kids' Teeth

Lisa A Block, DMD, MS

Pediatric Dentist located in Gig Harbor, WA

If your child’s tooth decay goes untreated, it can more seriously damage their oral health. At Harbor Kids’ Teeth in Gig Harbor, Washington, board-certified dentist Lisa Block, DMD, MS, treats cavities in children, restoring your child’s teeth back to health. To schedule an exam for your child, call Harbor Kids’ Teeth today or book an appointment online.

Tooth Decay Q & A

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay damages the hard surface of your teeth, causing tiny holes to develop. Tooth decay affects people of all ages.

If left untreated, tooth decay can create large cavities and make its way into the deeper layers of your teeth. This can lead to serious dental problems like infections, toothache, and even tooth loss.

What causes tooth decay?

Common causes of tooth decay include eating sugar, drinking sweet beverages, and practicing poor oral hygiene.

It starts to develop when sugars stay on your teeth. Bacteria start to feed on the sugars, causing plaque, a clear, sticky film, to form on your teeth. If the plaque isn’t removed, it hardens and becomes tartar. Tartar can’t be removed with a toothbrush. Only a dentist or dental hygienist can remove it using tools made for that purpose.

The hardened plaque causes small holes to develop in the enamel of your child’s teeth. If not cleaned away, this tartar continues to eat away at the next layer of the teeth, called the dentin. It then moves beyond the dentin to attack the inner tooth, causing pain and destroying the tooth.

What are the symptoms of tooth decay?

If your child has tooth decay, symptoms can include:

  • Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold drinks and food
  • Discolored patches on their teeth
  • Dark spots on a tooth
  • Pain when biting down
  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste in their mouth
  • General tooth pain

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Block and the dental team right away if your child complains or if you notice any of these signs.

How can I help my child prevent tooth decay?

Tooth decay develops when you leave sugars in your mouth that turn into acid and break down your teeth. Teaching your child good oral hygiene and making sure that they stay consistent with it each day can help them avoid dental problems. You can also encourage them to eat a low-sugar diet.

At Harbor Kids’ Teeth, the team provides guidance on how to practice proper oral hygiene. They recommend that your child brush their teeth at least twice a day, using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Also, they should floss at least once a day to remove bacteria that gets stuck between their teeth. This bacteria can cause plaque buildup.

Your child should also attend their regular appointments with Dr. Block for teeth cleaning and exams.

To schedule a checkup for your child, contact Harbor Kids’ Teeth today. Call the office or use the online booking tool.