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Can Early Tooth Decay Affect a Child’s Adult Teeth?
Many parents wonder if early tooth decay can affect their child's adult teeth, as dentists always stress the importance of caring for milk teeth as if they were adult teeth. So, is your dentist overreacting or is there a good reason why the dentist insists that you take care of your child’s milk teeth? Let's find out.
Why does early tooth decay matter?
Infection can spread from decayed milk teeth to the adult teeth
Some of the adult teeth rest in the gum, directly below the milk teeth. When decay in the milk teeth is left unchecked, the infection may progress to cause an abscess. The abscess can, in turn, spread the infection to the gum, where the permanent teeth are located.
When the permanent teeth become infected even before they erupt, they begin to decay. This means that the child may need to get dental restorations at an early age, which can be an expensive proposition. As the child grows, the restorations may have to be changed to accommodate the growth of the jaw.
Tooth decay can cause milk teeth to fall out early, resulting in crooked teeth
Milk teeth have two important functions: they help a child chew and talk, and they also act as placeholders for permanent teeth. This means that when they fall out before their time, milk teeth leave a gap in the gum that the remaining teeth fill by shifting to new positions.
When the remaining teeth move, they become misaligned and crooked. This brings with it a whole new set of problems. Misaligned teeth are often hard to clean, which can lead to further cavities and tooth decay.
Misaligned teeth will also give the child a crooked smile that might affect their confidence. To realign the teeth, a dentist will have to use orthodontic appliances to re-align the teeth and reshape the jaw. This becomes an extra expense that could have been avoided by properly taking care of the milk teeth.
If early tooth decay causes a milk tooth to fall out before it should, have a dentist fill the gap with a placeholder to keep the remaining teeth from crowding together and becoming crooked. In some cases, dentists may decide to protect milk teeth from early tooth decay with temporary dental crowns.
Milk teeth are the foundation for adult teeth
There are many reasons to take care of a child’s primary teeth. By caring for your child’s milk teeth, you get the child into the habit of cleaning their teeth twice a day and seeing the dentist regularly. By preventing early tooth decay, you make sure that your child ends up with healthy teeth and a beautiful smile that will cost you practically zero dollars in orthodontics. So brush those tiny teeth twice a day, keep your little ones from sugary foods and keep a lookout for cavities. You will reap good results in a few years.
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