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How Does Plaque And Bacteria Affect Your Child's Unerupted Adult Teeth?

If you're concerned about protecting your child's loose baby or primary teeth from cavities, you can keep these teeth clean and healthy until they fall out. Loose baby teeth are vulnerable to plaque and bacteria buildup. If you don't remove the plaque and bacteria right away, they can eventually damage the adult teeth hiding in the jawbones. Here's what you should know about your child's unerupted adult teeth and how to protect them from plaque and bacteria.

How Plaque and Bacteria Affect Your Child's Unerupted Adult Teeth

As your child's loose teeth move or wobble around in their sockets, plaque and bacteria can develop between the gums and crowns of each loose tooth. When your little one bites into or chews food, it forces plaque and bacteria down into the area beneath the gums. If food particles stick to the packed in plaque and bacteria, all three combine to form tartar or hardened plaque.

Tartar can potentially spread to the roots of your child's baby teeth and cause cavities. The cavities may also spread to the biting or cutting surfaces of any adult teeth hiding above or below your little one's primary teeth. The biting or cutting surfaces of unerupted adult teeth typically touch the roots of baby teeth as they force them out of their sockets.  

Because this action can take a while to happen, cavities often develop in adult teeth before they erupt out of the gums. If your child does have tooth decay on his or her unerupted adult teeth, he or she may experience these symptoms below:

  • Pain in the jaws: The cavities found on unerupted adult teeth may trigger inflammation in the surrounding muscles and bones. It may happen if bacteria leave the infected teeth and travel through the blood vessels located in the jaws.
  • Toothaches: These common symptoms can range from very light to extremely painful. The pain may radiate from the decayed adult tooth or teeth until it reaches the side of the face or jaw.
  • Earaches: Earaches occur when bacteria reach the sinus cavity and spread to the tubes of the ears.

You can put a stop to these problems by using floss to remove the plaque and bacteria before they turn into tartar. If you do this daily, your little one's adult teeth may have a better chance of emerging without tooth decay. However, if your child isn't okay or comfortable with flossing beneath his or her gums, continue reading more or try the tips below to help.

How to Make Flossing Beneath Your Child's Gums Comfortable

Here are some tips you can use to help make your child feel more comfortable when you floss beneath the gums of his or her baby teeth:

  • Use warm water to rinse your child's mouth in the morning: Warm water may soften up the plaque and bacteria buildup so that it's easier to remove with the floss. The heat from the water may expand the gums as well.
  • Serve warm milk before your child's nightly oral care: If your child has problems letting you floss beneath his or her loose teeth at night, serve warm milk just before his or her nightly oral care. Milk contains nutrients that help the brain release chemicals that calm and relax the body and nerves.
  • Rinse with warm water and salt once a week: Warm water and salt can ease inflammation, soreness and irritation in the gums surrounding loose baby teeth. Salt does all this because it eats away at the bacteria that cause these problems in the first place.

Try to use the tips above until your child sees his or her dentist. The dentist can use other methods like pediatric dental cleanings to remove the plaque.

Keeping your child's baby teeth as healthy as you can may prevent dental problems in the future. If you need more tips on how to do so, contact your pediatric provider for assistance.