Should Cavities in Baby Teeth Be Filled?

Mom brushing child's teeth

Should Cavities in Baby Teeth Be Filled?

Should cavities in baby teeth be filled? It is a question we hear a lot at Prescott Dental and it is a legitimate question. After all, baby teeth do fall out and are replaced by permanent teeth. Many people believe that for this reason, cavities in baby teeth are inconsequential. However, even though baby teeth are not permanent, it is important to care for them just as you would for permanent teeth.

What causes cavities in children?

A cavity is the result of plaque from bad bacteria that essentially eats away at the enamel of the tooth and causes a hole to develop. The primary cause of plaque buildup is poor oral hygiene. Cavities in children are actually very common. According to the CDC, more than 1 in 5 children aged 2 to 5 years has at least one cavity in their baby teeth. If left untreated, that bad bacteria can spread to other teeth leading to more cavities or an infection that could necessitate a root canal.  

Why are baby teeth so important?

Alleviating your child’s pain and preventing infection are certainly good reasons for having a cavity treated, but there are other reasons as well. Beyond pain and infection, baby teeth also play an important role in speech development. Some sounds require teeth to be formed properly. The letter F is one example. If your child loses his or her baby teeth too early, it could impact their speech at a critical time for speech development. Baby teeth are also place holders for permanent teeth and help ensure the permanent teeth will erupt properly. If a baby tooth is not there to hold the place for the adult tooth it can cause a misalignment in the teeth, leading to the need for orthodontics services later. 

How to prevent Cavities in Children

You can start your child on the path to healthy teeth and gums as soon as they are born. Here are some tips for establishing healthy dental habits and preventing cavities in kids. 

  • Wipe your baby’s gums after each meal. 
  • Brush your child’s teeth twice a day. 
  • Limit drinks and foods with added sugars.
  • Encourage your child to eat more fruits and vegetables. 
  • Schedule a dental visit as the first tooth appears and bi-annual check-ups thereafter. 

For more tips on caring for your child’s teeth see our previous post “ Dental Tips for Kids in Prescott.”


In most instances, a cavity in a baby tooth should be filled. There are a couple of rare exceptions. Sometimes if the cavity is very small, the body may naturally heal the cavity on its own. Another situation is if the tooth is about ready to fall out on its own. If you suspect that your child has a cavity, it is important to have your dentist assess it and determine the best course of treatment. 

Minimally Invasive Dental Care for Children

At Prescott Dental, we pride ourselves on using the most minimally invasive natural techniques available in modern dentistry so you can rest assured that your child will be in good hands.  Give us a call and schedule your family’s next dental check-ups. Contact Prescott Dentistry today.

Image used under Adobe free stock standard license – commercial use (2/15/2021) Hero Images  (Adobe)