According to recent studies from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease. However, if your child’s baby teeth are going to fall out eventually anyways, do they really need to be treated for tooth decay? In short, the answer is a resounding yes. Leaving your son or daughter’s cavity untreated can lead to a dangerous tooth infection and disrupt the development of their permanent teeth. Here’s what your Ocala children’s dentist wants you to know about the importance of healthy baby teeth in your little one’s smile.
What Do Baby Teeth Do?
Although they’re not a permanent fixture in your son or daughter’s smile, primary teeth play a critical role in your child’s oral development and health. Baby teeth are important for:
- Learning to chew and eat properly, which aids in digestion.
- Developing normal speech patterns and pronunciations.
- Building your little one’s self-esteem and confidence.
- Stimulating the normal development of facial bones and muscles.
- Saving space in the jaw for permanent teeth and guiding them into position.
The Importance of Healthy Baby Teeth
Unfortunately, primary teeth have softer enamel than permanent teeth, which means they are much more likely to develop tooth decay. The longer a cavity is left untreated, the further it can progress towards the primary tooth’s sensitive pulp and nerve.
Eventually, the tooth can become infected. Not only is this incredibly painful, but the bacteria can spread to the surrounding teeth as well. What’s more, some studies show that the bacteria can escape into the bloodstream and travel to the major organs. If the infected baby tooth needs to be pulled before the permanent tooth underneath is ready to erupt, it may come in misaligned and will likely need corrective orthodontic treatment later.
Tips for Protecting Your Child’s Smile
Thankfully, you can easily save time, money, and grief by preventing tooth decay from developing in the first place. To protect your little one’s oral health:
- Establish a great dental routine early. It should include brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing all their teeth daily.
- Make sure they’re getting enough fluoride. Fluoridated tap water and toothpaste help strengthen your child’s teeth and protect against decay.
- Cut back on sugary foods. Beware of sugary children’s snacks and juices. Instead, feed them more dairy products, vegetables, and proteins.
- See their dentist regularly as soon as they turn one. Your son or daughter should start getting their biannual dental checkup by their first birthday to ensure that their oral development is on track.
Remember, leaving a cavity untreated can lead to a serious tooth infection, even in baby teeth. Stop tooth decay in its tracks by seeing your Ocala dentist regularly and practicing excellent oral hygiene at home!
About the Practice
At Weldon General & Cosmetic Dentistry in Ocala, FL, we know that growing smiles need special attention. Our team of dental professionals goes above and beyond to make you and your child feel as comfortable and confident as possible during your visit. They are proud to offer services specifically catered to children and their unique dental needs, like sealants and fluoride treatments. If you are concerned about tooth decay in your son or daughter’s smile, we encourage you to reach us via our website or at (352) 622-3236.