What Happens If Tooth Decay Is Left Untreated

Getting your children into good brushing habits early on is a good way to avoid future health problems down the road. While cavities are quite common in young children, they should be treated immediately. If not, your child risks having serious damage to his or her teeth later on in life.

How Do Cavities Affect the Tooth Long Term?

Cavities develop when pockets of bacteria eat away at a tooth’s enamel. Cavities will not go away on their own and need to be filled by a dentist in order to prevent further erosion. According to WebMD, tooth decay that is not treated quickly can actually kill the tooth. That happens when the cavity reaches the middle or pulp of a tooth, which has nerves and blood vessels. When this occurs, an infection can set in causing severe pain and swelling. Treatment can involve a root canal or removal of the infected tooth.

How Do Cavities Affect the Gums Long Term?

Children with poor oral hygiene risk having gum disease when they get older. Without regular brushing, plaque can quickly build up. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, plaque that is not removed can cause gum inflammation and bleeding. Periodontis is a serious form of gum disease, where the gums and connective tissues start to break down around the tooth. NIDCR recommends that you see a dentist if you experience the following symptoms:

  • If your gums bleed easily or appear swollen
  • If your teeth appear longer than normal
  • If it hurts to eat
  • If your teeth feel loose or painful

Brush Your Teeth On a Regular Basis

Brushing twice a day thoroughly can save you a lot of pain – and money – in the long run. Supervise young children to make sure they are brushing properly and developing good oral hygiene habits.

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