Can an Untreated Cavity Affect New Teeth?
Although it may surprise some people, baby teeth are just as susceptible of getting cavities as are regular teeth. This means that daily care of baby teeth is as much needed as the permanent teeth will require later. When there is a baby teeth cavity, it is often important to fill it rather than to ignore it.
The Source of CavitiesWhen it comes to tooth decay, there is one basic cause – bacteria. Some of the more than 500 different types of bacteria in the human mouth produce acid whenever they come in contact with sugar. By leaving the bacteria on the teeth (plaque) for prolonged periods of time, it gives the acid opportunity to slowly erode the enamel on the teeth. This soon leads to cavities in many people – and young children.
The Cause of Cavities in KidsBaby teeth (also called milk teeth) have several ways that they can develop cavities. It is important to know that some toddler’s teeth are not as resilient to cavities as other children. Some children can take care of their teeth and develop cavities, and other children may eat lots of sugar and have poor oral care and not develop cavities. While it may run in families, it is not always the case.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay – Leaving a baby with a bottle of milk or juice to fall asleep with is something that many parents do. Unfortunately, it only promotes the growth of the bacteria and acid that causes cavities. Water is a much better and healthier option.
Juice Is Acidic – While juice without added sugar is generally healthy, it needs to be remembered that it is acidic. This adds to the acids created by the bacteria in the mouth and will speed up decay. Drinking water afterward will help remove the sugar and acid.
Too Much Sugar – Kids naturally love sugar, but parents often give them too much. Some kids are eating as much sugar as is recommended for adults, which should not surprise anyone that it leads to tooth decay. The sugar promotes the growth of the bacteria that produces the acid that destroys tooth enamel.
A Lack of Fluoride – Fluoride is a mineral that helps strengthen the teeth against cavities. It helps the teeth to regain minerals lost daily to acid. Even when children do drink water, if there is no fluoride in it, they are missing out on this important ingredient for teeth protection. While children under two years old do not need additional fluoride, those older than this do, but too much is also harmful.
Fluoride treatments can be given at the dentist's office. The application of fluoride will help prevent cavities. It is especially important in children who may be more susceptible to cavities. It is applied as a foam, a gel, or a varnish. It can actually help eliminate a cavity if the cavity is in the very early stages.
Reasons to Have Baby Teeth FilledAlthough baby teeth are only temporary, they are important. One of the reasons why they should be filled is because they help ensure that there will be sufficient space for the new tooth to come in. When a tooth is lost, teeth tend to naturally shift to fill in that space. This can cause problems for the new tooth.
Another reason why the milk tooth with a cavity should be repaired is that losing it can cause misalignment of the teeth. This may result in needing braces later on to correct the problem.
One more reason the tooth or teeth should be repaired is that it can affect ordinary activities. It could impair the child's ability to speak clearly, which may mean he or she will need speech therapy later on. Front teeth are essential for proper speech.
Symptoms of Baby Tooth DecayA tooth cavity is the result of the bacteria in the mouth. Although it is a common belief that some people have "soft teeth," it is not true. The cause is bacteria and some people have higher levels of it than others. Dentists say that as many as 80 percent of all cavities occur in just 25 percent of children.
There may be several symptoms that your child has a cavity. They include white spots on the teeth, sensitivity to sweets, hot or cold, brown spots that may eventually turn black. Gums may also be inflamed.
Preventing Toddler CavitiesParents can help prevent cavities in children by taking a few steps and working with their children. The first thing is to reduce their sugar intake. Limit the amount of juice and sugary foods the child gets, and give the child water in a sippy cup and in a bottle when they go to sleep.
You can also brush your teeth with the child to encourage them, and apply floss when two or more teeth are side by side. Apply a little fluoride toothpaste to the toothbrush after your child reaches two years old.
If your young children have a baby teeth cavity and need cavity treatment, Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board Certified Periodontist can help you. He also provides cavity prevention treatments with fluoride. His offices are located in the Carrollton, TX, and Grapevine, TX areas. For a consultation or dental treatment for better dental health, you can contact his office today at (817) 756-8578.