Baby Teeth Affect Your Child’s Health

A common belief about primary teeth, also known as “baby teeth,” is that they are not as important to take care of because they will fall out to make way for permanent teeth. The health of baby teeth has a bigger impact on future oral health than many people may realize. Although it is true that a cavity in a baby tooth will leave the mouth when that tooth falls out, infection and decay around baby teeth can lead to periodontal disease if untreated.

Cavities and Gum Disease

Close up of a boy's mouth with baby teethCavities can negatively impact a child’s oral health. If a cavity is left untreated, bacteria have more access to the inside of the tooth and can cause infection and gum disease over time. Infected teeth can make children sick just like it can an adult. Infected teeth are the reason for many emergency room visits for children. They can be dangerous and even fatal.

Gum disease can also be a problem because it may cause trouble even after permanent teeth have come in.

Discoloration of Baby Teeth

Paying attention to injured teeth is also an important part of caring for your child’s teeth. Sometimes teeth become damaged from trauma such as colliding with the floor when a child trips. Trauma can cause a tooth to turn brown, grey, black, and sometimes even red or pink depending on the damage. Leaking blood vessels in the tooth causes the discoloration, which may clear up over time.

In these situations, it is important to monitor the discoloration of the tooth. If it does not return to normal over time, or seems to be causing the child discomfort, a dentist will be able to help. X-rays of the tooth can show dentists if there is infection or inflammation under the tooth that could indicate that the tooth is dead. Depending on the situation, the tooth will either be left to fall out on its own, or may need to be removed to prevent further infection and pain.

Baby Teeth Play a Role in Nutrition, Education, and Confidence

Baby teeth essentially provide a path for permanent teeth to follow when they erupt. Sometimes children lose baby teeth prematurely and need a space saver to keep other teeth from moving over and causing crowding when permanent teeth come in. Your child’s dentist will let you know if that’s necessary in this case.

Your child’s baby teeth need to be kept healthy not only to guide permanent teeth, but also to promote nutrition. Mouth pain from cavities can make eating painful, discouraging children from getting the nutrition that their growing bodies need.

Baby teeth also play an important role in the development of speech and confidence as well. When teeth are missing, certain sounds may be more difficult to pronounce. Difficulty pronouncing words may lower a child’s confidence. Similarly, a child’s confidence may suffer if their teeth do not look nice compared to their peers. Teeth are actually the leading cause of bullying because of appearance.

Poor health of baby teeth can harm your child’s academic progress. When their mouth hurts, focusing in school or on participating in activities is difficult. There is a long list of things that can distract children from their studies on a given day without adding dental pain too. Your child will be happier overall if their teeth do not hurt.

Despite the relatively short period of time that baby teeth stay with a person, their health and hygiene are just as important as adult teeth. Just because it will fall out eventually does not mean that it won’t impact your child’s life now and in the future.

If you have concerns about the health of your child’s teeth, please call 303-759-5652 today to schedule an appointment with a Denver dentist at Park Meadows Dental Care.