“What’s the big deal?” you may think. “Baby teeth are going to fall out anyway. Why pay for a filling?”
On the contrary, cavities in baby teeth pose an issue not only for a healthy mouth and adult tooth development, but your child’s whole-body health as well.
Healthy Teeth, Healthy Child
Cavities in baby teeth must be cleaned and filled immediately. Otherwise, the decay will only spread. If it reaches the tooth root, it can begin to affect the adult teeth working their way up underneath. It can damage gum tissues too. Infection can begin to spread to other parts of the body, such as the brain.
Also, a decayed tooth will gradually make your child more uncomfortable. He or she may avoid eating certain foods, like crisp vegetables, or other foods that are hard to chew.
Children with cavities may begin to talk differently. They could develop bad breath. If primary teeth are extracted due to extensive decay, adult teeth can come in crooked, and this makes them more difficult to keep clean.
It also could warrant orthodontic treatment in the future. Ignoring cavities in primary teeth only leads to additional problems.
Preventive Care Is Vitally Important
At home, there are many ways you can protect your child’s good dental health.
Don’t offer your children juice before they are 6 months old — opt for water instead. Don’t put your child to bed with a bottle or cup of juice or milk. This can leave a coating of sugar and bacteria on children’s teeth that stays throughout the night, increasing the risk that they will develop cavities in their baby teeth. Also, limit sweets and sticky snacks and only offer them at mealtimes.
Reduce the level of bacteria in your baby’s mouth by cleaning pacifiers with a sanitary cloth, not your own saliva. Before their teeth erupt, clean their gums daily with a clean, moist washcloth. Once their baby teeth come through, brush them gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Talk to your dentist about when to introduce fluoride toothpaste.
When Should You Make an Appointment?
Bringing your toddler to the dentist is important, and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends this first visit take place right around a child’s first birthday. Don’t wait until your child complains of a toothache. Regular dental care should start at age 1 and continue into adulthood.
Oak Hills Dentistry knows the importance of quality dental care from an early age. Call today to make an appointment, and get professional treatment that can remedy or prevent cavities in baby teeth.