There is a common belief that baby teeth don’t matter, even if there are cavities in them, the teeth would be replaced by adult teeth eventually. But baby teeth are important. Cavities in baby teeth can lead to toothaches, infection, and difficulty with eating or sleeping for the child.
Decay in baby teeth is less common these days, but in our surgery we do come across kids with multiple cavities regularly. Most parents are very concerned, however some feel no treatment is warranted because these teeth would be lost. Often, parents do not realise some baby teeth are going to last until 12-13 years of age. If the cavities are left untreated, the child may suffer from toothache or in worse cases, an abscess. This can result in a child going to hospital to have teeth extracted – a distressing event for the whole family. Also, if some of the baby teeth are removed much earlier before the permanent teeth come through, there is the possibility of undesirable tooth movement, leading to future crowding in the permanent dentition.
In some cases dentist may recommend no treatment for a decayed baby tooth usually because it’s close to exfoliation.
It’s important to have regular check-ups for kids with baby teeth to prevent/detect early decay, and set them on a path of good oral hygiene habits into adult life. Baby teeth should be brushed twice a day. We encourage parents to supervise kid’s brushing until they are 6-7 years of age. A fluoridated toothpaste is recommended. And of course, sugary food and drinks should be kept to a minimum and limited to meal times.