"Why does it matter if baby teeth decay if they’ll be replaced by adult teeth anyway?"
Q: My kids think it doesn’t really matter if they brush now, because someday their baby teeth will just be replaced by adult teeth anyway. Does it really matter if baby teeth decay?
A: It’s very important to prevent tooth decay, even in baby teeth (AKA primary or deciduous teeth.) It may not be necessary to fill a small cavity in a baby tooth if the tooth will soon be lost, but it’s a different matter if it’s a baby tooth that could last for years. Cavities can hurt just as much in baby teeth as in permanent teeth, and untreated infections can become dangerous. Your children’s permanent teeth develop right under their baby teeth, so tooth decay can affect the growing adult teeth along with the baby teeth. Also, the baby teeth serve as placeholders for the adult teeth, so if the baby teeth fall out too soon, the adult teeth may grow in crooked or may even become stuck in the bone unable to come out at all in the case of impacted teeth.
It’s essential to teach your children proper oral hygiene now, so they will grow up knowing how to take care of their teeth for the rest of their lives. Check their teeth after they’ve brushed and flossed to make sure they’re doing it correctly, and take them to the dentist for regular cleanings.
Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees patients in the Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.