May 28, 2024
Rotten Teeth Kids

Tooth decay, commonly known as rotten teeth, is a prevalent issue among children.

Rotten teeth in children are a significant concern that can lead to discomfort, pain, and even infection, and it can be caused by various factors.

Understanding the causes, symptoms, prevention, and promotion of healthy dental habits are crucial for maintaining optimal oral health in children.

So, as a pediatric dentist, I am obliged to give you all the essential information you need to know about rotten teeth in kids.

Check Out: When Do Kids Lose Their First Tooth?

What Are Causes of Rotten Teeth in Children?

Poor Dental Hygiene

One of the primary causes of tooth decay in children is inadequate dental hygiene.

Failure to brush and floss regularly leads to the buildup of plaque and bacteria, which can erode tooth enamel.

Poor Diet

A diet high in sugar and starch is detrimental to dental health. Foods rich in sugars and starches provide a food source for bacteria, leading to acid production and tooth decay.

Dry Mouth

Saliva plays a crucial role in neutralizing acids produced by mouth bacteria. A dry mouth can increase acid production and elevate the risk of tooth decay.

Dental Crevices

Deep crevices in teeth can be challenging to clean properly, creating a favorable environment for bacteria to thrive and cause tooth decay.

Fluoride Deficiency

Fluoride is essential for strengthening tooth enamel and protecting against decay. Insufficient fluoride intake increases the risk of tooth decay.

Baby Bottle

Putting a child to bed with a bottle containing milk, juice, or formula can lead to tooth decay. The sugars in these liquids accumulate around the teeth, promoting decay.

Symptoms of Tooth Decay in Children

Swollen Gums

In addition to common symptoms observed in adults, tooth decay in children may also cause swollen gums.

Irritability and Fever

Children may display irritability and fever, indicating a potential infection related to tooth decay.

Brown, Black, or White Spots on Teeth

Visible discoloration, such as brown, black, or white spots on teeth, can be indicative of tooth decay.

Bad Breath and Unpleasant Taste

Persistent bad breath and an unpleasant taste in the mouth are signs of potential dental issues.


Swelling around the affected area may occur in cases of advanced tooth decay.

Prevention of Tooth Decay in Children

Practice Good Dental Hygiene

Encourage children to brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily. Regular dental check-ups are also crucial.

Limit Sugary and Starchy Foods

Limiting the consumption of sugary and starchy foods reduces the risk of tooth decay.

Ensure Sufficient Fluoride

Ensure that children receive sufficient fluoride through toothpaste, water, or supplements to protect tooth enamel.

Avoid Bedtime Bottles and Sugary Pacifiers

Avoid putting children to bed with bottles containing sugary liquids or dipping pacifiers in sugar or honey.

What Are the Best Foods for Healthy Teeth in Children

Promoting dental health in children involves incorporating foods that are beneficial for their teeth.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds such as almonds, peanuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds are rich in phosphorus and calcium, which counteract the acid effects on tooth enamel.

Dairy Products

Milk, cheese, and yogurt are excellent calcium, casein, and phosphorus sources, protecting tooth enamel and neutralizing plaque and bacterial acids.

Raw Vegetables

Raw vegetables like celery, carrots, and spinach are “chewing foods” that mechanically clean teeth and gums.

Lean Sources of Protein

Lean meats like chicken, turkey, and white fish, along with nuts and low-sugar peanut butter, help strengthen tooth enamel.


Choose fresh fruits like apples and pears, which stimulate saliva production, washing away food particles and neutralizing mouth acids.


Water is essential for overall and dental health, rinsing the mouth and washing away food particles and bacteria.

Prevention: Tips for Parents to Maintain Good Oral Hygiene in Children

Start Early

Begin practicing good dental hygiene habits as soon as the child’s first tooth appears, teaching them to brush and floss regularly.

Supervise Brushing

Supervise brushing until the child is around 8 years old, ensuring they brush correctly and enjoy the process with their favorite toothbrush and toothpaste.

Limit Sugary Foods and Drinks

Encourage a well-rounded, healthy diet with limited sugary drinks and snacks.

Get Enough Fluoride

Ensure the child receives sufficient fluoride to strengthen tooth enamel.

Regular Dental Check-Ups

Schedule routine dental cleanings and exams every 6 months to detect and treat early signs of tooth decay.

Teach Good Habits

Teach children to rinse their mouth or brush their teeth after eating to wash away sugar and avoid swallowing toothpaste.

How to Know Rotten Teeth Kids: Signs of Tooth Decay in Children

Understanding the signs of tooth decay in children is crucial for early detection and timely treatment.

Pain or Toothaches

Children may experience pain or toothaches, indicating potential dental issues.

Sensitivity to Temperature

Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks may suggest tooth decay.

White or Brown Spots

Visible white or brown spots on teeth can be indicative of tooth decay.

Visible Pits or Holes

Pits or holes visible on the tooth’s surface are signs of tooth decay.

Shallow and Black-Colored Cavities

Shallow, black-colored cavities on teeth may indicate decay.

Yellow, Brown, or Black Bands

Yellow, brown, or black bands near the gum line can

be signs of tooth decay.

Brownish-Black Stumps

Teeth appearing as brownish-black stumps may be affected by decay.

Importance of Regular Dental Check-Ups

Regular dental check-ups are essential for spotting and treating early signs of tooth decay in children.


Rotten teeth, or tooth decay, can be a significant issue for children. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and prevention measures is essential for maintaining good oral health in children. Encouraging healthy dental habits and a balanced diet contributes to strong and healthy teeth. Regular dental check-ups and prompt professional care are key to preventing and treating tooth decay, ensuring children’s smiles remain bright and healthy.


Is it normal for kids to have rotten teeth?

No, kids should not have rotten teeth. It happens a lot because kids love sweets and sometimes forget to brush, but if we teach them to take care of their teeth properly and eat healthier, we can stop it from happening.

What happens when a child has rotten teeth?

A child with rotten teeth might have a toothache or feel a sharp sting when eating something hot or cold. Their breath might not smell good, and their gums might be red and puffy. You might even see brown or black spots on their teeth. If we don’t fix these problems quickly, they might be scared to go to the dentist, miss school because of dentist appointments, or end up needing serious dental work.

What causes rotten teeth in kids?

Kids can get rotten teeth if they don’t brush and floss regularly or eat too many sugary foods and drinks. Dry mouth, not having enough fluoride (fluoride deficiency), deep grooves in their teeth that hold food and bacteria, and going to bed with a bottle or pacifier can also lead to rotten teeth.

Can rotten baby teeth be saved?

Yes, even if a baby tooth is rotten, a dentist can often fix it by putting a special cover over it or doing a kind of treatment like a grown-up’s root canal. It’s really important to try and save baby teeth because they help kids chew, talk, and hold the space for their adult teeth growing underneath.

How can I prevent tooth decay in my child?

To prevent tooth decay in children, ensure they practice good dental hygiene, limit sugary and starchy foods, and receive enough fluoride. Avoid putting them to bed with bottles containing sugary liquids.

What are some healthy foods for children’s teeth?

Foods beneficial for children’s dental health include nuts and seeds, dairy products, raw vegetables, lean sources of protein, fruits, and water.

How can I help my child maintain good oral hygiene?

Start early with dental hygiene habits, supervise brushing, limit sugary foods and drinks, ensure sufficient fluoride, schedule regular dental check-ups, and teach good habits like rinsing after eating.

What are the signs of tooth decay in children? 

Signs of tooth decay in children can include pain, sensitivity to temperature, white or brown spots on teeth, visible pits or holes, shallow and black-colored cavities, yellow, brown, or black bands near the gum line, and teeth appearing as brownish-black stumps. Regular dental check-ups are essential for early detection and treatment.

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