Does Tooth Decay in Baby Teeth Affect Permanent Teeth?
These teeth stay in place until about age six, when they then fall out to be replaced by the permanent teeth that should carry us through our lives.
Surprisingly, although these teeth are only in place for six years, estimates tell us that some 60% of children suffer from tooth decay.
But does this really matter? After all, if baby teeth are fated to go away, why should we take any care of them.
At Dental Cube Kellyville Ridge we’d like to inform you that, in fact, it is quite important that you take care of these teeth, and they should not be treated as merely disposable.
Those unassuming little baby teeth perform some important tasks, not only for the permanent teeth that will follow them but also for general health and development.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the reasons that tooth decay in baby teeth should not be taken lightly.
Why worry about temporary teeth?
Many parents wonder why, if baby teeth are going to fall out, they should be taken care of?
There are multiple reasons to take care of temporary teeth. Temporary teeth play an important part in speaking, eating, and even how we breathe.
Most importantly, for dental health, temporary teeth also mark out space for the permanent teeth that will follow, helping them come in straight and regularly distributed.
Here is a closer look at these functions:
- Primary teeth make space for adult teeth and, when they erupt, guide them into the proper position in the bite.
- Dental pain from cavities can adversely affect chewing, leading to the possibility of poor nutrition. If cavities are unaddressed, an infection may set in and reach other areas of the body and the brain.
- If baby teeth develop an abscess or infection tooth development can be retarded, leading to damage to the permanent tooth below.
- The tongue, lips, and cheeks work together to help us speak. If baby teeth are lost prematurely, it can lead to permanent problems with pronunciation.
- Self-esteem – Decayed teeth are unattractive and can decrease a child’s confidence and self-esteem.
What causes baby tooth decay?
Several things cause baby tooth decay, primarily the same things that cause tooth decay in adults. But there is one other vector for tooth decay to reach an infant’s mouth.
Surprisingly, this is from the mother. Decay often starts with bacteria being passed to the infant from a mother or other caregiver.
The most common way this happens is through the use of a shared feeding device, such as a spoon, or when a mother uses her own mouth to clean a pacifier.
The other common way decay takes hold is when a child is exposed to drinks that contain high sugar levels.
This often happens when a fussy baby is pacified using a bottle with sweet liquid, or if a baby is put to sleep with their bottle.
Signs of Tooth Decay in Children
Even children of very attentive patients can develop cavities. And these cavities are not visible to your eye, so they can only be identified through symptoms.
Here are a few things to look for:
- Bad breath, particularly if it is not helped by brushing
- Swollen, red, or bleeding gums
- Sensitivity to food temperature or sugar
- Toothaches or jaw pain
- Tooth discolouration that cannot be cleaned or brushed away
- White buildup on a child’s gum line, also known as plaque
Oftentimes, a child won’t mention these symptoms, so adults need to look for changes in daily habits.
If your child does mention that their mouth is painful, sensitive, or burning, it means you need to schedule a trip to Dental Cube Kellyville Ridge.
How parents can help
Some tips include:
- Move your child to drinking water as soon as possible.
- Eliminate sugar consumption, particularly between meals.
- Move your child to drinking cups as soon as possible. Talk to your dentist about this, because you don’t want to take the bottle away too early – the sucking motion bottles require the help of the child’s tongue and facial muscles. Generally, kids should be weaned from the bottle by about one-year-old.
- If a child falls asleep while feeding, remove the bottle as soon as sucking motions end.
- Begin brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they come in. Even before teeth are present, you can clean your child’s gums with a wet cloth.
Dentistry in Kellyville Ridge
At Dental Cube Kellyville Ridge, we provide dental treatments in a fun, friendly setting. From our caring, gentle staff, to our cutting-edge technology and amenities, we give our patients the best possible service.
We deliver individualised service to every patient and their unique needs. Your care and comfort are our priority.
Dental Cube Kellyville Ridge serves local communities in Kellyville, Kings Langley, North Kellyville, Beaumont Hills, Rouse Hill, Schofields, The Ponds, Stanhope Gardens, Parklea, Glenwood and Lalor Park.
GAP FREE Promotion for New Patients
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Up to $1000 worth of dental treatments over two years (Medicare)
We are located at G4/8 Merriville Rd in Kellyville Ridge.
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