Baby teeth are as important as permanent teeth are, and proper dental care of a child’s baby teeth is essential.
Dental care often becomes a concern and a priority with most people only after they suffer pain and discomfort from a dental cavity. Many parents do not prioritize the need for preventive dental care for their baby’s teeth, citing reasons such as, “Baby teeth are going to fall out anyway!”
Baby teeth are as important as permanent teeth are, and proper dental care of a child’s baby teeth is essential. Cavities, plaque, unpleasant odor, and tooth decay are some of the most common and chronic dental problems increasing among children at an alarming rate. In this post, our St. Louis pediatric dentist will discuss this in detail.
Effects of neglected dental hygiene
Pediatric dentists worldwide have always emphasized the importance of maintaining proper dental hygiene among children. Neglecting dental hygiene can lead to several problems for children, including the following:
- Cavities and tooth decay among children is prevalent and is considered a chronic disease. It is extremely infectious and spreads to other teeth as well. Sensitivity and pain are related discomforts.
- It has been estimated by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) that about 23% of children between the ages of 2 and 5 years old in the United States have cavities in their baby or primary teeth.
- About 20% of children between the ages 6 to 8 have untreated cavities and tooth decay.
- The chances of children developing cavities in their permanent teeth are much higher if they have suffered from cavities in their baby teeth.
- Cavities and tooth decay can cause pain, sensitivity, and difficulty in speaking and eating. Pain and discomfort can cause the child to lose focus on schoolwork and other activities.
- When cavities are ignored, they worsen, and the deeper into the tooth they go, they affect the root. Such infections require root canals that can be very painful. Moreover, untreated tooth decay can lead to several oral infections like an abscess. An abscess is a pus formation inside the tooth or in the gum that needs ER treatment. It can occasionally be fatal.
- When primary teeth fall before time, they can cause the permanent teeth to erupt incorrectly and misaligned. Such problems often need corrective dental and orthodontic treatment.
Prevention is better than cure
When it comes to dental hygiene, the adage, “Prevention is better than cure,” holds true. A few good hygiene habits, a little enforcement, and the ability to say “no” at the right time can go a long way in ensuring that children have healthy teeth – primary or permanent. Here are some things you can do.
- Restrict free access to an excess amount of sugary food and drinks.
- Encourage eating sweets at mealtimes so that saliva in the mouth can neutralize the acids produced.
- Ensure that children brush twice a day.
- Monitor children while they brush their teeth to ensure that they clean them properly
- Avoid letting children sleep with a milk bottle or a sippy cup in their mouth.
- Remember, even excessive fruit juice and breast milk can speed up the onset of cavities.
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