Primary Tooth Cavities - Why They Require Treatment

If you have a child, then you likely know that oral health is very important. This means visually inspecting your child's mouth often and helping him or her brush the teeth. You also need to make arrangements to see a dentist immediately once a cavity is noted in the mouth. Cavities are common: Around 42 percent of children from the age of 2 to 11 have at least one cavity within a primary tooth. Unfortunately, some parents believe that these cavities do not require care because the primary teeth will fall out eventually. While those teeth will eventually fall out, there are several reasons why primary tooth cavities need to be removed.

Cavities Can Reach the Permanent Teeth

Baby teeth are the smaller teeth that sit in the mouth before the permanent teeth come in, and these teeth form in the jaw while your child is still a fetus. Once the primary teeth develop, the hard tissues of the jaw form around the teeth. Embryonic cells also develop in the jaw that eventually turn into the permanent teeth. When your child is born, these cells are more advanced formations called tooth buds.

The primary teeth slowly erupt and remain in the mouth as place holders until the adult teeth come in. The adult tooth buds in the jaw then grow and expand slowly and move upward as they are ready to force their way into the mouth. When they do this, they absorb the dental roots of the baby teeth. This means the adult teeth sit directly against the baby teeth for some time. If a cavity happens to form in one of the baby teeth, it can grow downward and enter into the adult tooth below it. This will result in dental decay forming in the adult tooth.

It is always best to have cavities treated immediately, but if you see a cavity on the side of a baby tooth or a very large one across the top crown, then the decay has a much better chance of reaching the adult tooth below it. Also, if the tooth is likely to come out within the next few months according to tooth loss timelines, then make timely arrangements with your child's pediatric dentist.

Children May Not Be Able to Chew

Most people are well aware that cavities can cause general pain and discomfort and this may interfere with the way that foods are chewed when placed in the mouth. Your child may avoid placing pressure on the painful tooth. Unfortunately, this can result in nutritional difficulties. Children require fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and meats to grow properly. In fact, children require more fruits and vegetables than any other food, but these foods are hard to eat when a cavity causes pain. If the foods are avoided, your child may end up with a nutrient deficiency. This can lead to developmental, learning, or growth problems. 

Gastrointestinal Issues

If your child does decide to try to eat hard and crunchy foods, then they may not fully chew the items. This can lead to a variety of digestion and gastrointestinal issues. The food will not get mixed with saliva properly, and your child will miss out on the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of the fluid. Also, the larger chunks of food will mix with air in the stomach and cause gas and bloating problems.

If your child seems to be having problems chewing, then consider placing fresh fruits and vegetables in a blender for your child to create a smoothie until the cavity issue is resolved.

Cavities in the baby teeth are an oral health issue that your child is likely to face. The cavities can cause nutritional issues as well as problems with the adult teeth, so make sure to take your child to see a pediatric dentist from a clinic like Apollo Dental Center at the first sign or oral decay.