There are several factors that make young children more prone to bacterial caries or cavities, which is why primary teeth deserve extra care. Children indulge in snacking – most of which isn’t particularly healthy, and has high sugar/carbohydrate levels. They are also unable to clean their teeth properly on their own. When these starchy, sugary food materials are allowed to remain lodged on and between teeth for prolonged durations, they attract bacteria. Bacteria such as Stretococcus mutans feed on sugars and upon finding a favorable environment, initiate the caries process. What may initially appear as a white spot on the tooth can potentially become a large, rather painful cavity which may or may not be restorable.
Before highlighting the importance of treating cavities in children, it is critical to understand the importance of the primary/deciduous teeth. Many parents choose to ignore minor cavities in their children’s mouths assuming that the damaged teeth will soon be replaced with permanent once. While this is true, it is essential to note that the permanent dentition only appears in the mouth at a specific time and in a specific order. Early loss of deciduous teeth can lead to a number of problems which have been summarized as follows:
- Primary teeth serve many functions, the most important of which is space maintenance for permanent teeth. Early loss of primary teeth can disturb the order of eruption and can lead to malocclusions.
- Advanced caries can cause a great degree of pain and discomfort to the child rendering them incapable of chewing, sleeping or concentrating properly. This can adversely affect the child’s overall health and moods.
- Cavities or missing teeth in the anterior region may also affect a child’s social behavior. The child may frequently shy away from social interactions or simply from smiling to hide an imperfect smile.
- Molars are most susceptible to caries and early loss of molars means the child will be unable to eat in a normal manner – swallowing food without chewing it properly can also lead to bowel related problems.
This is why it is important to monitor a child’s dental cleaning habits, and to regularly check for any signs of caries. Should a white or brown lesion be seen on a tooth, immediate professional help must be sought for timely treatment and restoration of the affected tooth. Our expert team of pedodontists at Lake Pointe Dental not only offers painless treatments to children in a comfortable environment, but also educates parents on how they can help their kids maintain excellent oral hygiene on daily basis.