An unexpected pathogen may be the culprit in cases of severe cavities among children, researchers found. This new connection could mean that dentists can intervene before decay sets in if they test for that particular bacteria in a child’s mouth.
Childhood Cavities and Bacteria
Scientists at The Forsyth Institute were able to identify the bacterium Scardovia wiggsiae in the mouths of children who had severe early childhood caries when those same children didn’t have other pathogens that typically are known to cause cavities, according to a Medical News Today article.
Everyone’s mouth is full of bacteria, but most do no harm to the mouth. Known pathogens like Streptococcus mutans are a common culprit for severe childhood caries, but this realization will help dentists treat children who don’t have S. mutans and other bacteria present in their mouths – especially since some people can have those common pathogens in their mouth and yet have no dental disease.
A diet with excess sugar and carbohydrates can also be at fault when determining the cause of extreme dental decay in children, but often it simply arises due to the presence of certain pathogens like S. mutans, and now S. wiggsiae. Knowing these differences will help dentists determine the appropriate course of action in both preventing problems and treating them when they do occur.
Children and Cavities
Tooth decay is the most common and yet most preventable disease among U.S. children, especially among low-income or otherwise disadvantaged socio-economic groups. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, the disease is 7 times more common than hay fever and 5 times more common than asthma. Severe cavities among children can destroy their teeth and gum structure as well as cause painful abscesses. In fact, these problems are one of the primary reasons for hospital visits among young children.
In the past 8 years, tooth decay in children has gone up 28% (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Dental work can be expensive, but the cost of treating problems left unchecked is far worse. Preventive care is incredibly important to maintaining healthy teeth that can last a lifetime. A discount dental plan can help cut the cost of regular dental care for your children, even if they already have cavities.