Most parents agree that getting children to properly brush their teeth is a struggle. Children don’t fully understand the importance of brushing and flossing their teeth, and they’re still developing their oral health habits. So as a parent, it’s essential that you teach your children the importance of oral hygiene and take them to the dentist regularly. Although baby teeth are temporary, they can have a profound impact on your child’s oral health. So, you might be wondering, do cavities in baby teeth affect permanent teeth?
Do Cavities in Baby Teeth Affect Permanent Teeth?
Most children begin developing their “baby teeth” before their first birthday and have a full set of teeth by their third birthday. Although these teeth typically fall out within three or four years (in some cases, they last much longer), that doesn’t mean they’re unimportant. Do cavities in baby teeth affect permanent teeth? Absolutely. In fact, they can cause several different types of issues . . .
Harm to Overall Oral Health
Cavities affect baby teeth in the same way they affect permanent teeth. If cavities in baby teeth are left untreated, the child’s overall oral health may be compromised. The bacteria may spread, attacking neighboring teeth, and a significant untreated cavity could lead to an abscess and/or tooth loss. In some cases, damaged baby teeth cause problems relating to jaw structure, growth, and occlusion. Not to mention the fact that cavities can cause physical pain and emotional distress if they’re left untreated.
Damage to Permanent Teeth
Cavities in baby teeth can cause an infection that impacts underlying permanent teeth. The bacteria in the teeth may grow, multiply, and progress into the underlying bone if given enough time. In this bacteria-rich environment, the still-developing permanent teeth may become infected. If the underlying teeth survive, they may be malformed or permanently discolored or stained.
If tooth loss occurs, orthodontic issues may arise as well. Neighboring teeth may shift to fill the empty space left behind by the extracted baby tooth, which will become a problem when the permanent teeth erupt and don’t have enough space. They may become misaligned, which can trigger a domino affect that causes all the teeth to become crooked. To correct the teeth alignment and bite, expensive orthodontic treatment may be required.
Poor Oral Health Habits
Cavities result from poor oral health. Do you want your children to grow up believing it’s okay to neglect their teeth and avoid the dentist? We encourage all parents to establish the importance of good oral health habits with their children from a young age. Lead by example – you could even brush and floss side by side each morning and night. If you help your child build healthy habits, they’re more likely to grow into a healthy adult.
Your baby may only have a few tiny baby teeth right now, but before you know it, they’ll be smiling with a full set of permanent teeth. Though you may feel pretty relaxed about their oral health currently (given the fact that their baby teeth are temporary), don’t neglect their brushing, flossing, or dental visits. Strong, healthy baby teeth set a solid foundation for permanent teeth.
Looking for a family dentist? If you live in or near Springfield, Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will help your children feel comfortable, relaxed, and informed about their own oral health. For exceptional and comprehensive dental care, schedule your child’s first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or requesting an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!