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Importance of temporary teeth


This week, I have decided to speak about the importance of temporary dentition (baby teeth). For a long time, I have noticed a lack in the care of children’s teeth by their parents or guardians, who, in their attempt to justify this, frequently state that they are going to fall out anyway.{{more}}

It may be tempting to skip brushing if a child puts up a fuss, or allow a picky eater to snack nonstop on their favourite carbohydrates — a recipe for cavities. But once the damage is done, it’s not as easy as pulling them out and waiting for the permanent line-up.

Children who have cavities in their baby teeth are three times as likely as others to develop cavities in their permanent teeth, according to an often quoted study, published in the Journal of Dental Research in 2002. A five-year-old’s oral health can even predict greater decay and disease at 26, especially for poor children, another study found.

This may be caused partly by not brushing with fluoride twice daily and sipping sugary drinks over long periods. But it’s also because the bacteria that causes cavities, called caries, signify an infectious disease. So even if one decayed tooth falls out, an infection may continue ravaging that child’s mouth.

Another reason for restoring a decayed baby tooth is that, left untreated, it can become abscessed, at which point it can lead to an emergency situation. A person can die from an oral infection, if left untreated.

However, just pulling a decayed tooth can cause problems, because primary teeth are placeholders for adult ones. In the absence of a placeholder, adjacent teeth may drift into the space, blocking the growth of the permanent tooth and causing crowding (which may require braces to correct it). If a temporary tooth must be removed, a dental appliance or placeholder may be a necessity.

Beyond brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, one way to reduce the risk of cavities may be to limit snacks and juice boxes to a 15-minute period, so a child’s teeth are not constantly taking an acidic bath. Another is to make sure an adult does the brushing until a child has the dexterity to do it well, which is roughly when they can tie their own shoes.

In conclusion, neglecting baby teeth can not only become an emergency health hazard, but can set a child up for a lifelong dental trouble and expensive dental corrective treatment.

Dr Keith John

Email:[email protected]

Clinic: SVG Dental Corporation

Telephone: 784-456-2220

Cell: 784-526-0752