Does a Baby Tooth with a Cavity Need a Filing?

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Playing What Happens When Your Child Gets a Cavity

The Doctors welcome Dentist Dr. Sako Karakozian to answer some child-related dental questions, including why a baby tooth with a cavity should not be ignored.

“Why does my child need a filling in a baby tooth if it’s just going to fall out,” a viewer asks. Dr. Sako says this is a common question. He recommends going to the dentist as soon as possible to have the cavity addressed, as it could get worse. He explains that a cavity can jump from one tooth to another. He also notes the cavity could cause pain, possibly turn into an infection, or even possibly lead to malnutrition if it is affecting how the child is eating. He also says that some baby teeth will not fall out until after the age of 12.

Watch: How to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

“What tips do you have to get your kids to the dentist without it being an ordeal?” Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon asks. Dr. Sako suggests “starting early” and prep your young ones for a trip to the dentist, possibly with a damp cloth or gauze used to wipe in their mouth. He also notes that the American Dental Association says that after the age of 2 a small dab of toothpaste can be used to brush any teeth your child might have. Dr. Sako notes that the amount should be very small like the size of a kernel of rice.

“Is baby bottle tooth decay a real thing, and how can I prevent it?” a viewer asks. Dr. Sako says it is indeed a real thing. He suggests avoiding sugary liquids in the bottle before naptime or bedtime to avoid any sugar sitting on the teeth while they sleep.

Watch: Should You Rinse After Brushing?

Another viewer asks, “I’ve been told you shouldn’t rinse right after brushing. Is this true?” The dentist says to brush, spit out the foam and not rinse with water for 30 minutes. This allows the fluoride in the toothpaste to work its best and it on the teeth. He also notes to not eat or drink water after brushing.