Toddlers and cavities: Yes, it happens. Yes, it matters.

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June 28th, 2018

Baby pacifier

It happens to all of us: Skipping our little one’s toothbrush time when we’re rushing to get them out of the door in the morning (or struggling to get them into bed at night). After all, how important can it really be for a two-year-old to brush? Do toddlers actually get cavities – and if they do, does it even matter?

The answer to both is yes – and here’s why.

High risk of cavity development

If a tooth is present – no matter the age – that tooth can get a cavity. And because toddlers are growing rapidly and consuming at such a high level, they are at a high risk of developing cavities. In fact, tooth decay is the No. 1 chronic childhood illness in America, with more than 40 percent of children suffering from cavities before they reach kindergarten.

Baby teeth are crucial

Yes, toddlers have their baby teeth in – and those will eventually fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth. But those baby teeth – and keeping them healthy – are crucial to a child’s oral health and development. Baby teeth set the stage for the permanent teeth that come after them. When a baby tooth is lost too early due to decay, the surrounding teeth tend to migrate into improper positions. This can make the permanent teeth crooked or crowded when they come in.

Untreated cavities become serious health issues

If cavities are not treated they become infected. These infections can move beyond the tooth, even causing sepsis. This can lead to emergency surgery or death.

The good news is that, with just a committed two minutes twice a day for your child to brush (and floss!), you can help keep them happy and healthy. Need some tips to help getting your toddler to brush? We’ve got them here.