Are fillings in baby teeth really necessary?
As an adult, you know that cavities needs fillings to protect teeth from further harm. But what about a cavity in one of your child’s baby teeth? After all, baby teeth are temporary and a dental filling may seem like a waste.
To help shed light on why dental fillings are necessary for kids, we’re going to debunk 8 very popular myths surrounding kids’ cavities.
Myth #1: Baby teeth are temporary and don’t need fillings.
Fact: Untreated tooth decay on baby teeth requires treatment just like a cavity on an adult tooth.
Tooth decay causes the same damage to oral health whether or not the cavity happens to be on a baby tooth or an adult tooth. A simple dental filling will halt tooth decay and ensure the baby tooth remains healthy until it’s naturally due to fall out. The only case in which a filling may not be needed is if your dentist finds that the tooth in question is very close to falling out on its own anyway.
Myth #2: Cavities are normal for kids and inevitable.
Fact: Tooth decay in kids is common, not normal, and highly preventable.
To put it simply, tooth decay is common but not normal. You can think of this in the same way as heart disease may be common, but it isn’t considered a normal level of health.
The majority of kids’ tooth decay is also preventable. Although you may not have full control over what your kids snack on at school or with friends, you can supervise their diet at home. Supervising twice-daily brushing and flossing sessions is also crucial in preventing tooth decay.
Myth #3: Cavities will go away when they lose their teeth.
Fact: The cavity itself may be gone but tooth decay can still be present in the mouth.
Remember, a cavity is a symptom of a bigger problem in the mouth. Cavities are caused by bad oral bacteria releasing acids as they eat sugars and starches in the mouth. High levels of bad bacteria, poor oral hygiene habits, and a smile-harming diet will continue to cause trouble even when your child’s baby teeth fall out.
Myth #4: Brushing and flossing will get rid of a cavity.
Fact: Only pediatric dental care can treat your child’s cavity.
Healing a cavity isn’t like caring for your child’s scraped knee. If your child has a cavity it means permanent damage has already occurred to the tooth enamel. While it’s definitely important to keep the tooth clean with brushing and flossing, this only slows decay. The only way to get rid of the cavity is with a filling or some other form of restorative care with their pediatric dentist.
Myth #5: Getting a cavity filled is too stressful for kids.
Fact: Modern pediatric dentistry is extremely gentle and low-stress for kids.
Parents are often pleasantly surprised to find how gentle pediatric dental care is today compared to their own experiences in childhood. Dedicated pediatric dentists and their teams have a passion for helping kids and have gone through extensive training to ensure they can provide effective care as stress-free as possible. We even offer sedation options to help kids relax during their appointment.
Myth #6: There’s nothing you can do about cavities.
Fact: A healthy diet, a great dental care routine, and regular checkups prevent cavities.
Ensuring your child eats plenty of nutritious, whole foods and takes great care of their teeth can prevent cavities entirely. Make sure they brush twice daily for two minutes, using the proper technique. Supervise older kids and assist younger kids to ensure all teeth are clean. Don’t forget to floss at least once a day too.
Sticking with regular six-month checkups and cleanings will keep your kid’s smile free from plaque and allow their dentist to catch early signs of a cavity forming.
Myth #7: Sugar is the cause of kids’ tooth decay.
Fact: Sugar is only one of many triggers of cavities in kids.
Sugar isn’t the only food that can cause trouble. Starches, carbs, and acidic foods can also weaken tooth enamel and feed cavity-causing bacteria. Not brushing and flossing is also a significant trigger for cavities. Some dentists also believe genetics can play a role in a child’s propensity for developing tooth decay.
Myth #8: Cavities in childhood won’t affect adult teeth.
Fact: Healthy baby teeth safeguard your child’s future adult smile.
Kids who struggle with oral health in childhood often experience the same struggles as teens and adults. This is because your child’s early oral health has a lasting impact on their adult smile. Chronic tooth decay and premature loss of baby teeth from untreated cavities can cause adult teeth to develop decay and even erupt crooked or misaligned.
Get your kid’s cavities under control with We Make Kids Smile.
The sooner your kid’s cavities are treated, the sooner they can enjoy a healthy, toothache-free smile! If you suspect your child is battling tooth decay or it’s been a while since their last checkup, it’s time to book a visit.
The quickest way to schedule their appointment is by calling our closest office location in Prince Frederick or Waldorf. During non-business hours you can also fill out this quick online form.