We recently celebrated how wonderful moms are. Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs there is! Most moms would say they would do everything in their power to keep their kids healthy. We all have questions about how to do this. Oral health might not be the first thing on our minds; questions might come up such as this one. We thought it would be helpful to give some insight from a dental perspective.
So, as a mother, you make ask questions like these, “Are baby teeth really that important?”, “Should I have a baby tooth with decay fixed when it is just going to fall out in a year or two?”, “Is it really worth fighting a daily battle with a toddler to get a toothbrush in their mouth?” These questions come up all the time in the dental office. While we hear and understand those concerns, we must set this one straight. Baby teeth are extremely important and worth fighting for!
Healthy baby teeth
- Aid in proper nutrition
- Help with speech development
- Hold room in the jaw needed for development of permanent adult teeth
- Can have a big part in building self-esteem
- Allow a child to focus in school without the distraction of tooth pain
- Set the child on a path of good oral health habits for life
What Happens If I Don’t Treat Tooth Decay?
Unless the baby tooth is already loose and on its way out, your dentist will most likely tell you that the tooth needs to be repaired. Primary tooth decay is serious! It can spread quickly and lead to infection or an abscess. An abscess occurs when a cavity reaches the nerve of the tooth. Once the infection reaches the end of the root, a pocket of pus begins to form called an abscess. Sometimes that pus cannot drain and can cause throbbing pain, swelling and may be accompanied by a fever. An abscessed tooth needs to be taken care of by a dental professional right away and might require antibiotics to fight the infection. If not treated, the infection could spread to other parts of the child’s body. The dentist will either try to save the tooth with a baby root canal or by simply removing the tooth. If the tooth is removed the dentist will often put in a “space maintainer” to hold a place in waiting for the permanent tooth to erupt.
Start With A Check-up!
Regular checkups are important for young children who don’t always let on that there may be a problem until it is too late. Helping children develop the habit of caring for their teeth has payoffs throughout their life. Healthy teeth also mean easier dental visits, which is a plus for both parents and children. Call to schedule a checkup and cleaning for your little one, today!
Side note: Tooth decay remains the most common chronic disease among children ages 5-17 with 59% affected. More than 51 million hours of school are lost each year by children due to dental-related illnesses.