Cavities in baby teeth don’t matter because they’ll fall out anyway, right? Wrong.
Unfortunately, many people don’t understand the impact of untreated tooth decay on their child’s health. But don’t worry. If your child has a cavity, Kangaroo Smiles is here to help with the most effective treatment available!
Cavities in Baby Teeth—Crucial Facts
Educating parents about pediatric dentistry is important to us, which is why we’re sharing five things you probably didn’t know about cavities in babies. Knowing this information can help you make the best decisions for your child’s oral health.
#1 – Tooth decay in childhood is common.
It’s relatively easy for children to develop cavities, which may be why this is the most common childhood illness. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that 42% of kids have cavities in their baby teeth.
Oftentimes, prolonged exposure to the sugars in breast milk can make the teeth vulnerable to decay. This means decay can even occur in babies. The important thing to remember is to start cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth emerges. Also, avoid letting them fall asleep with a bottle of anything other than water.
#2 – Cavities are transmissible.
Did you know that tooth decay is a transmissible disease? That’s because they are caused by certain types of bacteria in the mouth. If you’ve had a cavity, then those bacteria will remain in your mouth for life. Getting a dental exam and cleaning during pregnancy is important to ensure that you won’t pass on those bacteria to the baby.
At one point or another, you could also share spit with the baby (whether through a kiss, sharing a straw, etc.) Keeping your teeth bacteria-free is a great way to lower your child’s risk of developing cavities in baby teeth.
#3 – Remineralization can help.
Remineralization is an alternative to filling cavities in baby teeth when the cavity is small. It is a naturally-occurring process that builds tooth enamel. When applied to a cavity, remineralization halts and even reverses its course so it won’t grow larger.
By strengthening the teeth, remineralization makes it possible for your child to wait until the tooth falls out. However, serious cavities will likely require a filling to avoid other problems.
#4 – Cavities in baby teeth do affect permanent teeth.
Some parents think that fillings for baby teeth are a waste of time, but long-term problems can actually result from a lack of treatment. Baby teeth are thinner than adult teeth, which means they require more attention when brushing and flossing. Untreated cavities in baby teeth can quickly progress to larger cavities, leading to the need for a therapeutic pulpotomy.
Plus, kids’ teeth should be kept as long as they can because they affect the development and positioning of adult teeth. When baby teeth become infected or must be extracted, this can cause orthodontic problems for the next set that comes in.
#5 – Cavities in baby teeth can affect health.
Not treating tooth decay will make eating painful and uncomfortable for your child. Some healthy foods are hard, such as carrots and apples. If your child is unable to eat these foods due to decay, they will begin losing essential nutrients necessary for their growth and well-being.
Cavities in baby teeth can also affect speech. When the teeth rot and fall out from tooth decay, this can cause speech impediments and negatively affect self-confidence. The best strategy is to address a cavity early on before they become this serious.
Treatments for Cavities in Baby Teeth
At Kangaroo Smiles, we offer various pediatric dental treatments for cavities in baby teeth, such as fillings, root canal, stainless steel pediatric crowns, and extractions. Whenever possible, we will always do our best to save the tooth. To prevent cavities from occurring in the first place, we also offer preventive care and patient education services that include dental cleaning, protective sealants, fluoride treatments, and oral hygiene instructions.
Taking your child to pediatric dentistry in Lowell early on is the best way to ensure their teeth stay healthy and cavities don’t become a problem. As a matter of fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that children have their first dental visit at 12 months or as soon as the first tooth erupts.
Pediatric Dental Care in Lowell and Methuen, MA
If you think your child could have a cavity, we encourage you to visit us at Kangaroo Smiles to find out about the best treatment option for them. We’ll also give you tips about protecting against future cavities and show you the best techniques for your child’s oral hygiene.
To make your appointment or raise any questions, please call us at (978) 425-1496. Our offices are located in Lowell and Methuen, MA. We look forward to meeting you!