How do I Know if my Child has a Cavity?

It is not always easy for parents to identify the signs that a child has a cavity, particularly if the cavity is on the side of a tooth (or between teeth). Cavities are not uncommon for children. In fact, the CDC has reported that 20%of all children between the ages of 5 and 11 have tooth decay or one or more cavities.   little-girl-is-having-her-teeth-checked-by-dentist - SM  graphicstock - paid - H0dMTFcb-
Your child's dentist will identify cavities at the time of their visits to the office. But, in the meantime, a cavity can be very uncomfortable for your child. Identifying cavities early reduces the damage the decay will cause and reduces the amount of drilling needed to fill the cavity.
So how do you know when your child has a cavity, even if the child doesn't know how to tell you?
1. Compare the color of the child's teeth. In the early stages, a cavity will appear as a bright white spot on the tooth. It will be brighter than the enamel of the tooth. In time, it will turn yellow, then brown. Finally, you will be able to see or feel a very small pit or hole in the tooth.
2. Pain in the tooth is a clear indication of a problem. Your child might complain about pain from a toothache. In some cases, your child might say that it hurts to chew their food. Often, your child will experience some sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and beverages. If your child can locate the pain in a part of their mouth, you will likely find a cavity.
3. Younger children often have difficulty communicating tooth pain. The things to look for include appetite changes, not wanting a favorite food, or not wanting you to brush their teeth.
A final reminder: don't ignore cavities in baby teeth. They are important for development and spacing for permanent teeth, for eating, and for speech.
To your child's dental health,