Preventing Cavities and Tooth Decay in Baby Teeth
Most parents spend very little time thinking about the temporary, or “baby”, teeth of their children, which is why the importance of keeping these teeth healthy is often overlooked.
And if parents think about these teeth at all, their thoughts are often dismissive. After all, most of these teeth begin to drop out by age 6, so how important could they be?
Norlane Dental Surgery would like to take this chance to answer that question – they are very important. And, unfortunately, tooth decay is a very common chronic disease.
Estimates vary, but up to 40% of children are believed to have at least one cavity in the first five years of their life.
And these cavities in baby teeth can have surprisingly negative effects on oral health, both in the present and future of children. They can even have negative effects on overall health and social life.
In this post, Norlane Dental Surgery discusses how tooth decay can harm your child and what you can do to prevent it.
Let’s take a look at some issues related to decay in baby teeth.
Why baby teeth are surprisingly important
- Proper chewing and eating. A mouth without decay or cavities makes it easier to chew and enjoy food without discomfort or pain. It also means that food is more likely to be completely chewed, and children are less likely to develop bad habits. Cavities, however, can make eating painful and result in poor nutrition and anaemia.
- The landing strip for permanent teeth. Primary teeth are space-holders for permanent teeth. They help guide permanent teeth into the correct position. And if one primary tooth is missing, others may drift or tilt into the gap, actually blocking the eruption of permanent teeth.
- Permitting normal development of the jaw bones and muscles. Your baby’s jaw muscles and face need exercise to develop. Strong and healthy primary teeth allow for proper chewing to build these muscles. Without well-developed jaw muscles, your baby’s jawbones, tongue, and facial muscles may not develop properly.
- Proper speech development. Missing teeth can harm the ability of a child to learn sounds, form words, and learn to speak properly. These speech problems can continue on until later life. Obviously, the inability to speak properly comes with social and self-esteem issues.
- Self-esteem and confidence. Besides all the physical issues, there is also an extremely practical reason for taking care of primary teeth – A nice smile with attractive teeth is a proven way to improve social interactions. Your children will have increased self-esteem and confidence.
But it’s not just about keeping teeth safe:
- Childhood cavities are associated with Iron deficiency anaemia
- Childhood cavities are linked to malnutrition – low vitamin D, low calcium, and albumin concentrations and elevated PTH levels
- Childhood cavities are linked to Disordered eating
- Childhood cavities are linked to extremes of failure to thrive and obesity
All of this should point out why tooth decay in baby teeth should be looked out for and treated!
Signs of Tooth Decay in the Young
Even children of caring and thoughtful parents can develop decay and cavities. And dental decay cavities are not visible to your eye, so they can only be identified through symptoms (or at Norlane Dental Surgery).
Here are a few things to look for:
- Swollen, red, or bleeding gums
- Bad breath, particularly if it is not helped by brushing
- Sensitivity to food temperature or sugar
- Toothaches or jaw pain
- Brown spots on gums
- White build-up on a child’s gum line, also known as plaque
- Tooth discolouration that cannot be cleaned or brushed away
Typically, children don’t mention these symptoms or don’t know how to explain them.
This means that adults need to look for changes in daily habits. Sudden changes in eating or speaking habits should be investigated carefully.
If your child does mention that their mouth is sensitive, painful, or burning, you need to schedule a trip to Norlane Dental Surgery so we can take a look, determine if anything is out of the ordinary, and give treatment if there is a problem.
Norlane Dental Surgery is an expert at treating your children. Our focus is on great treatment and comfort – we know that children can be anxious, and we have multiple, proven strategies to help them achieve a level of comfort.
Quality Dentistry in Norlane
At Norlane Dental Surgery, we believe everyone deserves the highest quality dentistry, and our goal is to help you receive it.
Norlane Dental Surgery is a multi-surgery practice in operation for over 30 years, taking care of the varied oral health needs of the Norlane community.
We have a particular focus on implants, orthodontics, and smile rejuvenation using veneers, crowns, and bridges, while also dealing with the unexpected dental emergencies we all dread.
Child Dental Benefits Schedule
Bulk Bill for Commonwealth Child Dental Benefits Schedule for up to $1,000.
If you are worried about your baby’s tooth development, call us on (03) 5278 2666 or visit us at 124 Sparks Road in Norlane.
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