Why does my child have tooth decay even though he does not eat any candies?

My child does not eat any candies, why does he have tooth decay?

Your child’s teeth are protected by an outer coating called enamel. Tooth decay happens when germs in the mouth mix with sugar in foods and drinks. The germs then make acids that break down the enamel and cause tooth decay. Our saliva can neutralize the acid produced but this process takes some time. Therefore, if you feed your child frequently, the saliva cannot exert its effect and hence the teeth will be under constant attack by acids which cause tooth decay. So, if your child eats frequently, even though he does not take any candies, he can still have tooth decay easily.

Actually after the age of 2, your child should have 3 meals a day, take some snacks or fruits if necessary. Never allow your child to go to sleep with a bottle of milk, as the teeth will be soaked with milk and under constant attack by acids. More importantly, you should assist your child in teeth brushing every morning and at night before bed. Your child should learn how to clean the teeth on his own at around the age of 2. Encourage your child to have a good habit on oral hygiene.

My child refuses tooth brushing, what can I do?

Brushing of teeth is an essential personal hygiene behaviour, so you must help your child develop this habit. You can use story-telling, playing games or rewards to assist your child to learn teeth brushing. If your child is between 3 to 5 years old, and if his kindergarten has joined the “Brighter Smiles for the New Generation” programme, you can follow the provided instructions.

If my child has dental caries but is unwilling to see a dentist, can I just ignore it and wait until the permanent teeth erupt?

No. As the dental caries will destroy the shape of the deciduous tooth, there may be a chance that it will cause a narrowing of space for the permanent tooth to erupt and lead to irregular tooth alignment. If the dental caries is severe, the bacteria can infect the underlying growing permanent tooth and cause permanent damage to the shape and structure of the tooth.