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But they’re just baby teeth...

A common question pediatric dentists get from parents: “Why do we have to treat baby teeth? Aren’t they just going to fall out?”

Baby teeth are important to your child’s health and development. They help your child chew, speak and smile, and they are placeholders for permanent teeth. The enamel (outer covering) of baby teeth is very thin compared to adult teeth and a little cavity can quickly lead to a big problem. Untreated cavities often lead to abscessed teeth that require an antibiotic and sometimes hospitalization. By removing the cavity and restoring the tooth with dental materials, this can be prevented. Additionally, when a baby tooth is lost too early, the space for the permanent tooth underneath can get crowded out.

Other problems from untreated cavities range from issues with speech and self-confidence to lowered nutrition because it’s too painful to chew foods such as vegetables and meats. Also, research shows that US children miss up to 51 million school hours a year due to dental pain and dental-related issues.

Yes, baby teeth will fall out, but it’s important to keep them healthy before that naturally happens. The best ways to prevent cavities and dental disease in your child are through good oral health care at home, including twice daily brushing and once daily flossing, as well as proper nutrition and seeing your dentist every six months.


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1611 J street Springfield, OR


Dr. Erin Estep is a board-certified pediatric dentist who owns Treehouse Kids Dentist in Springfield. She and her staff are committed to making sure your child has an amazing, safe, memorable dental experience.


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