Is it Normal for Baby Teeth to Have Cavities
Even with regular brushing and a healthy diet consisting of little sugars, babies can easily develop cavities in their primary teeth. Some parents may not realize that they also need to be flossing their child’s teeth along with regular brushing. Decay can develop between teeth and can quickly spread to other surfaces of the tooth as well as to other teeth.
By the age of 5, about 60% of children in the U.S. will have experienced tooth decay. If left untreated, tooth decay can result in infection and difficulty chewing, leading to malnutrition. If the decay is bad enough, an abscess can develop and cause a negative impact on the child’s permanent, adult teeth. After all, tooth decay is disease and even though we are talking about teeth that will fall out in a few years anyway, it is important to take care of them just as you do your own adult teeth.
First Dental Visit
Children should visit their Pediatric Dentist for the first time by their first birthday, or when their first tooth erupts, whichever comes first. Starting your child at the Dentist early helps build healthy habits that hopefully they will carry throughout their lifetime. Waiting until all of your baby’s teeth have come in to take them for their first visit can potentially be an issue if they have developed a mouthful of decay. If their first visit involves a lot of dental work, it could cause fear of future, preventative visits.
To keep your child’s baby teeth healthy, it is important to provide a healthy diet, limiting sugary foods and beverages. Their Pediatric Dentist will educate you on how best to care for your child’s teeth with oral hygiene techniques. This will also help you teach our child so they can eventually help take care of their own teeth properly!
Treating Cavities In Baby Teeth
The goal of treating decay in children is to take it slow so they do not become afraid of the Dentist! Your child’s Pediatric Dentist may choose to monitor small decay instead of treating it, depending on the location and severity of the cavity. There are some treatments they can use to slow the progression of the decay such as topical fluoride.
If their Dentist decides that the tooth needs to be restored with a filling, they may offer nitrous oxide to help relax your child. Nitrous does not put your child to sleep, it simply relaxes them and keeps them in a twilight state so they can better tolerate the procedure. A local anesthetic will be used in conjunction with nitrous to numb the area being treated.
It is important that you and your child feel comfortable with the dental treatment they receive. Decay in baby teeth is very common and is not always a cause for concern, though it is important that you have it treated. Baby teeth are vital to the development of their adult teeth as well as speech patterns and proper nutrition. If you believe your child has decay in their baby teeth, speak with their Dentist to see what options are available for their best treatment.