Starting in our first year, we all develop baby (primary) teeth, which eventually are replaced by permanent teeth.
And most youngsters, estimates are about 60%, suffer tooth decay in those baby teeth.
In fact, 40% of children under the age of 5 already have a cavity in one or more teeth.
But, because baby teeth are ‘temporary’, many of us believe they don’t need to be well taken care of. But this is not true.
Primary teeth are temporary, but cavities that are not treated can cause serious immediate harm and negatively affect the development of the teeth and mouth as a child grows.
At Forster Dental Centre we want to help you get your children’s dental health off to its best possible start, partly because good oral hygiene and dental care is related to improved oral hygiene and dental care as your child grows.
And this has an impact on overall health as well.
In reality, tooth decay in baby teeth can have substantial negative effects, and fairly quickly.
Decayed teeth can be so damaged that they need to be extracted due to pain or reduced function.
But poorly cared for baby teeth can also cause problems in the future, including speech problems, poor eating habits/nutrition, and damaged and misaligned adult teeth.
Healthy temporary teeth, conversely, often lead to healthy permanent teeth.
Causes of Baby Tooth Decay
Baby tooth decay can be caused by typical things that cause decay and cavities for all of us: bacteria, sugar, etc.
But surprisingly, one of the main things that cause baby tooth decay is dear old mom. This is because oral bacteria from a mother can get into their child’s mouth and cause decay.
Bacteria is most often carried on items that end up in the mouth of both the baby and the mother. Cooking and eating tools and pacifiers are most common in this group.
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.
The Importance of Baby Teeth
Here are the five main reasons that baby teeth are so important:
#1 Permanent tooth position and alignment
Primary teeth serve as placeholders for the permanent teeth that will replace them, and also help guide them into place.
#2 The health of the permanent teeth
The roots of the baby teeth are very near the developing permanent teeth. Because baby teeth are so small, cavities can spread aggressively, leading to infections or abscesses that can harm the development of permanent teeth.
#3 Good nutrition and health
Tooth pain can restrain children from proper chewing, leading to poor nutrition and health. Infections can form and spread quickly.
In these cases, what started as a simple cavity can cause infection of the body or brain. Children have died in cases like these.
#4 Facial development and speech
Teeth, even temporary ones, are crucial in supporting the development of the tongue and facial muscles.
As your child learns to speak, the lips, tongue and cheeks work in concert with the teeth to create proper sounds. Missing teeth can cause a child to develop a speech defect; one that might become permanent.
#5 Concentration and social esteem
Dental pain impedes education and takes away the focus needed to learn. Unattractive teeth can lead to unhappy social interactions, and children can lose their confidence and self-esteem.
How Parents Can Help
The habits that lead to good oral health are laid in the early years of life, under the supervision of parents or caregivers.
This is another reason to stay on top of your child’s oral hygiene, even when they are very young. Here are some suggestions:
Start early. Help your child develop good oral hygiene habits that become second nature. Rinse your infant’s gums with a damp cloth or gauze.
Brush their teeth as soon as the first one erupts and floss them once they have more than one tooth.
Set a good example. Your good dental habits are often unconsciously followed by your children. Let your children brush and floss their teeth with you, and they will enjoy it more.
Regular dental visits. Regular dental visits demonstrate how important tooth care is. At Forster Dental Centre we are waiting to welcome your child!
Your Local Dentist in Forster
At Forster Dental Centre, we give each patient the care that allows them to maintain healthy teeth and a beautiful smile for life!
We pride ourselves on listening to the needs and concerns of all our patients and aim to provide you with the personalised attention you and your family deserves.
Child Dental Benefits Schedule
Bulk Bill for children who are eligible for MEDICARE CHILD DENTAL BENEFIT SCHEDULE
Up to $1000 worth of dental treatments over two years
We are located at 1st Floor Forster Tower, 12 Wallis St in Forster.