Dr. Steve Mocrae is great with children
Having nine children of his own and having practiced for over twenty nine years, Dr. Steve Mocrae is accustomed to catering to children of all ages. As a dentist that sees a lot of families and children, the most common disease observed among toddlers is tooth decay, and the occurrence of cavities in baby teeth are on the rise.
Cavities in children’s teeth are on the rise
Cavities can form when the specific type of bacteria that cause cavities are present in the mouth along with sugar, providing an environment for the bacteria to metabolize the sugar to produce acids. Tooth enamel is a hard crystalline outer layer of teeth and can be damaged by these acids. When damage to the enamel occurs, cavities form. Sugar can be found in candies and sweet foods such cookies, ice cream, cake and even natural foods like fruits and juice.
Soda has not only sugar but also acidic properties that are very damaging to teeth. Limiting processed sugar is very important to maintain proper oral health. Since juice and nutritious foods still have natural sugar, proper oral hygiene is important for children to maintain strong tooth enamel. By flossing and brushing on a regular basis, sugar is not left on the teeth for long periods of time. As many children’s dentists would agree, one major cause of cavities in toddlers are “sippy cups”. The child will continuously sip juice or milk throughout the day or night, constantly bathing their teeth with sugars. It’s important to remember that even milk has natural sugar. This constant bathing the teeth in sugary liquids causing cavities is called baby bottle cavity syndrome. In cases like these, it is not uncommon to see cavities in nearly every tooth of a child’s mouth.
Cavities on baby teeth can be one of two types, known as smooth surface or between teeth. It is the presence of cavities between the teeth that shocks parents, as they are usually not visible by simple inspection. Once x-rays are taken during the child’s check up, the cavities will be detected.
It’s important to remember that if a cavity is left untreated, the type of bacteria that causes cavities will constantly be washed out of the cavity hole onto the other teeth. These other baby and even adult teeth will be attacked by the bacteria, creating more cavities. This is why it is crucial to fill all cavities as soon as possible, reducing the amount of these specific cavity causing bacteria.
Saving baby teeth is very important
Here in our Barrie community roughly twenty five percent of children have cavities. This is an alarming figure, and should not be taken lightly. When parents are told their child has cavities, they often question why they should be filled as they are going to fall out eventually anyway. If the baby teeth are going to fall out within nine months, it may be reasonable to leave the cavities or pull the tooth if the cavities are deep. However, often it is a situation where the child is younger and the decayed baby teeth at the back of the mouth won’t fall out on their own until around age ten. Parents often don’t realize that if left to long, the cavities will get larger and the teeth will die and abscess. The nerve in the tooth then rots and the tooth is decayed. Don’t forget that this is where the adult tooth is trying to grow. This process is not only very painful for the child, but can affect the development of adult teeth. A tooth abscess can be (although very rare) life threatening if infection goes uncontrolled. Abscessed baby teeth are usually extracted.
Besides infection and pain, there are many other reasons to save baby teeth. They are needed for proper chewing of food which will help and encourage children to obtain appropriate nutrition. Baby teeth also guide adult tooth eruption. If baby teeth are lost then adult teeth may erupt crooked which may lead to future orthodontic treatment being necessary. Additionally, front teeth are needed for proper speech development of the young child. Studies have also shown that significant tooth decay in children’s teeth significantly increases the chances of developing cavities in adult teeth.