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A thin, sticky colorless film of bacteria called plaque covers teeth. The bacteria produce acids that can attack tooth enamel. When sugary food or liquid remains in the mouth after eating, the bacteria have more time to produce decay-causing acid.

What Causes Tooth Decay?

Baby bottle tooth decay is a condition that can destroy the primary teeth of an infant or young child. It occurs when the child’s teeth are frequently exposed to sugary liquids for long periods. These liquids include milk (even breast milk), formula, fruit juice and other sweetened liquids.

What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Humans have two sets of teeth: primary (baby) and permanent (adult). Some people think that primary teeth are not important because they will eventually fall out to make room for adult teeth. On the contrary, primary teeth “hold” space in the jaw for the permanent teeth. They help the child chew, which is essential for a healthy diet. They help the child learn to pronounce words and give structure to the face.  Most importantly, tooth decay in baby teeth is painful, just like it is in adult teeth.  Untreated decay can hinder a child's eating, sleeping and performance in school.  

 

By the time a child is born, 20 primary teeth usually have formed inside the gums. The front four teeth typically begin to appear between age six months and one year. Most children have a set of 20 primary teeth by the time they are three years old.

 

Unfortunately, tooth decay can begin as soon as the teeth emerge. It is the baby’s upper front teeth that are usually affected, but can damage other teeth, too.

 

Decay in the primary teeth can also harm the erupting permanent teeth that are still growing inside the gums. Even though they’re not visible until the child is about six years old, the permanent teeth begin to develop tooth enamel as early as three to four months after birth. Disease can spread to the hidden permanent teeth. And the decay can be associated with general health problems in some children.

 

If primary teeth are lost prematurely, the emerging adult teeth may shift, resulting in an irregular bite that could require additional treatment. If primary teeth are kept healthy until they’re ready to fall out on their own, there is a better chance of the adult teeth erupting in normal alignment.

But They're Just Baby Teeth, Aren't They?

If you choose to consume sugary foods and drinks, do so with meals. Saliva production increases during meals and helps neutralize acid production and rinse food particles from the mouth.

 

Limit between-meal snacks. If you crave a snack, choose nutritious foods, and consider chewing sugarless gum afterward. Sugarless gum increases saliva flow and helps wash out food and decay-producing acid.

 

Drink more water. Consuming optimally fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay. If you’re choosing bottled water, check the label for the fluoride content.

 

Brush your teeth twice daily and floss daily with ADA-Accepted dental products.

 

See your dentist regularly.

How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Tooth Decay?

Periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) is an infection of the gum and bone that hold teeth in place.

 

If periodontal problems are not treated, they can eventually cause tooth loss. Periodontal disease is often painless and you may not be aware that you have a problem until your gums and the supporting bone are seriously damaged. The good news is that periodontal disease often can be treated in the early stages with a treatment called scaling and root planning.

What Is Scaling And Root Planing?

The jewelry in oral piercings can hinder your ability to talk and eat. Food particles that collect around piercing sites can lead to infection. Some people have even swallowed the jewelry—which can puncture the bowel or intestine. Others also develop a habit of “biting” the barbells, or “playing” with the balls—which can lead to cracked teeth, gum damage or recession and sensitive teeth. There may also be a need for restorations, such as crowns or fillings, and additional dental treatment due to piercing.

What Should I Know About Oral Piercing?

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder that is not only harmful to your overall health but is particularly destructive to teeth. It involves repeated binge eating followed by purging—self-induced vomiting, using of laxatives, fasting, diuretics or diet pills.

Are My Eating Habits Hurting My Smile?

Wisdom teeth that are healthy and properly positioned can be an asset. However, in many cases, wisdom teeth remain impacted, trapped beneath the gum and bone and against the teeth in front of them. They may only partially erupt because there is no room in the jaw for them to erupt fully. The partially erupted teeth may tilt sideways and may cause damage to adjacent teeth.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Root canal treatment involves the removal of the tooth’s pulp, a small, thread-like tissue that contains the nerve. Once removed, it is replaced with materials that seal off the root canal from the bone supporting the tooth’s root. Years ago, teeth with diseased or injured pulps were removed. Today, root canal (endodontic) treatment enables dentist to save many teeth that otherwise would be lost.

What Is Root Canal Treatment?

A crown is a special dental restoration that entirely covers or “caps” a tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance.

What Is A Crown?

Missing teeth can cause the mouth to sag and the face to look older. If you’re missing one or more teeth, your dentist may recommend replacing them with a bridge. A bridge spans the space where the tooth (or teeth) is missing. A bridge helps maintain the natural shape of your face and provides support for your lips and cheeks.

What Is A Bridge?

Do you suffer from headaches, earaches, tenderness of the jaw muscles, or dull, aching facial pain? Does your jaw lock or stray to one side when you open your mouth? These aches and pains may be related to the jaw muscles and the jaw joint, called the Temporomandibular Joint or TMJ. These painful conditions are often referred to as TMD for Temporomandibular disorders.

What Is TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder)?

A sealant is a plastic material that is usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth—premolars and molars. This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting the enamel from plaque and acids to prevent cavities.

What Is A Sealant and How Does It Help Prevent Decay?

Please feel free to contact Dr. Rondeau’s office at 810-225-TEETH (8338) and ask about a free limited exam (does not include x-rays).

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