What You Need to Know About Tooth Decay in Baby Teeth

Too many Australians believe that when a child loses their temporary teeth, it isn’t any kind of problem.

After all, this thinking goes, the teeth are certain to fall out eventually, so losing them a touch early shouldn’t really bother anybody. After all, the permanent teeth will come in to replace them, right?

Wrong! There are several good reasons to avoid losing baby teeth before they naturally come out to be replaced by permanent teeth.

At EK Dental Surgery, we want all our young patients to keep their baby (temporary) teeth completely healthy until they are replaced by permanent teeth.

Let’s take a look at why baby teeth are more important than you might think.

The Importance of Baby Teeth

Here are the six main reasons that baby teeth are so critical:

#1 Permanent tooth position and alignment

The primary teeth are partly there to hold spaces for the permanent teeth that will replace them. They also help guide those permanent teeth into their proper positions.

If a baby tooth is lost due to decay, or for any reason, the surrounding teeth often tip or drift into the empty space. In this case, a permanent tooth can be blocked from properly erupting.

#2 The health of the permanent teeth

The roots of the baby teeth are very close to where the permanent teeth are developing. Because baby teeth are so small, cavities can spread aggressively through their thin enamel.

This can lead to abscesses or infections that can slow permanent tooth development as well as damage them.

#3 Good nutrition and health

Teeth are a necessity for chewing and tooth pain caused by cavities can hinder a child from proper chewing.

This can lead to nutritional gaps and generally poor health. Another general health issue can arise if infections form in baby teeth.

These infections can spread quickly, to other areas of the body and even into the brain. In these cases, a mere cavity can quickly become a case that calls for immediate hospitalisation.

Sadly, there are cases in which children have died from the effects of dental abscesses.

#4 Facial development and speech

Your child’s teeth give support to the developing facial muscles, preparing them to work properly when the permanent teeth come in.

Additionally, your teeth help give your child an attractively shaped face. As your child learns to speak, the tongue, lips, and cheeks use the teeth to form proper sounds.

If the teeth are missing a child can develop a speech defect that might become permanent.

#5 Concentration and social esteem

Dental pain is an impediment to education and the ability to learn. Socially, decayed teeth can have substantial negative effects.

Social interactions can be damaged, and children can lose their self-esteem and confidence.

#6 Wasted time and money

If dental issues with baby teeth do develop, you will end up spending unneeded time and money to repair your child’s mouth. It is much better to avoid these kinds of problems!

Symptoms of Tooth Decay in Young Children

Baby tooth decay can be extremely hard to see.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Chalky or spotted teeth
  • Brown spots or white deposits along the gumline
  • If your child avoids hard foods or reacts badly when eating sweet, cold, or hard foods

If your child has these symptoms, it’s time to schedule a visit to EK Dental Surgery.

Preventing Tooth Decay
  • After eating gently clean your child’s gums with a clean, damp cloth.
  • Avoid sharing saliva with your baby – don’t share feeding spoons or lick pacifiers to clean them.
  • When your child’s first tooth comes in, begin to brush gently with a baby’s toothbrush and a dab (or pea-sized amount) of toothpaste.
  • Bottles should only hold formula, milk, or breast milk. Don’t fill bottles with sugary drinks. If your child needs a bottle to sleep, fill the bottle with water.
  • Infants should finish their bottles before going to sleep. Bottles should not be allowed in the crib or bed.
  • If your child uses a pacifier, keep it clean and don’t dip it in sweeteners like sugar or honey.
  • Teach your child to drink from a cup by the age of one.
Treating Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

If your baby has symptoms of tooth decay or discomfort, come see us at EK Dental Surgery!

We’ll identify any problems, and help you create a plan to repair it and avoid future issues. Early visits to the dental office also help children get used to a dental health routine.

Reasons to Smile in Glen Waverley!

EK Dental Surgery offers a wide variety of preventative and cosmetic dental procedures for children, seniors, and everyone in between! We are a team of dedicated Glen Waverley dentists and staff working to provide the best care possible.

At EK Dental Surgery, we can help you achieve tip-top dental health and a movie-star smile!

EK Dental Surgery is conveniently located on Springvale Road in Glen Waverley.


Pay No Gap for Exam, Scale and Clean, and Fluoride Treatment for Medibank, Bupa and HCF.


Bulk bill for Commonwealth Child Dental Benefit Scheme for up to $1,000.

If you are worried about your baby’s tooth development, call us on (03) 9887 8787 or make an appointment online.

We are located at 230 Springvale Road in Glen Waverley.

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