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What Causes a Cavity on The Front Tooth?

When you think of cavities, you probably imagine back molars filled with decay from years of crunching on candy and chips. Not to mention that it's more difficult to brush or floss your back teeth.

While your front teeth are smoother and easier to clean, they're not immune to cavities. Any of your or your child's teeth – including front incisors seen when you smile – can develop decay without mindful oral hygiene.

Because cavities in front teeth pose cosmetic and health issues, your family dentist takes special care to treat the decay.

What Causes a Front Tooth Cavity?

The same things that cause cavities in your back teeth can lead to decay in your front teeth:

  • Sugary foods and drinks, especially acidic soda
  • Food that gets caught in your teeth
  • Forgetting to brush your teeth
  • Skipping your flossing routine
  • Acid reflux
  • Lack of fluoride

Additionally, tooth decay in young kids, known as early childhood caries (ECC), is a global disease more common in children than any other condition, according to researchers as shared in an article on StatPearls. If not treated, kids' cavities can lead to further dental problems and even health issues.

According to information from the American Academy of Pediatrics posted on HealthyChild.org, babies and children are at greater risk of getting cavities on their front teeth from these actions:

  • Sleeping with bottles in their mouths filled with sugar-sweetened drinks, milk, and juice – even if you cut the juice with water. Known as baby-bottle tooth decay (BBTD), this condition can develop if a baby falls asleep while a mother is nursing.
  • Drinking sugary drinks, milk, and juice in a bottle or sippy cup throughout the day.
  • Sharing saliva usually happens when parents share utensils and cups with their kids or clean pacifiers by putting them in their mouths.

Did You Know?

While sugar-sweetened drinks are always a no-no for kids, they should only drink milk and juice at mealtimes. Water is the best bet for children to drink in bed and throughout the day.

How Can I Identify and Treat a Front Tooth Cavity?

Because you might not realize you have a cavity, the ADA recommends dentist checkups every six months. If you notice a cavity on a front tooth, it's best to see your dentist right away. You don't want the decay to worsen.

If you pay attention to tooth color, you can see decay starting with white spots and leading to light brown or gray tooth color. At that point, seek dental care before a tooth turns dark brown or black. You or your child might also experience pain or sensitivity to cold, hot, or sweets.

To treat permanent front teeth cavities, dentists will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and fill it with a strong, restorative material.

Your dentist might use tooth-colored composite fillings made from plastic resins and finely ground glass-like elements for a natural look. This treatment typically takes one visit.

To correct cosmetic issues arising from a cavity on a front tooth, your dentist might recommend treating the cavity with one of these prosthetics:

  • A crown, a tooth-shaped, natural tooth-colored cap covering the remaining tooth structure
  • A veneer, a thin piece of porcelain matching your natural tooth color that's bonded to the front surface of the tooth

These cosmetic options might require two or more dental visits.

Your dentist can help you determine the best treatment option for you or your child's situation.

How Can I Prevent a Front Tooth Cavity?

The great news is that you can significantly reduce your and your child's risk of tooth decay with some simple steps:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss (also known as interdental cleaning) once a day.
  • Eat a balanced diet, limiting foods and drinks with added sugars.
  • See your dentist twice a year for checkups and cleanings.

By making an oral health care routine, you can maintain a healthy smile throughout your life. Avoid sugary and acidic foods and drinks, and clean and floss your teeth twice a day to maintain a healthy mouth.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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