cavities in baby teeth fillings

Photo by The-Autism-Mom

When a friend told me that her five-year-old daughter needed to get a cavity filled, I thought "Why? Isn't the tooth going to fall out anyway?" The kid wasn't in any pain, explained my friend, but the dentist said it was important to fill the tooth to keep her gums healthy.

But just this week, a group of British researchers announced that it may not be necessary to fill decaying baby teeth.

Okay, so I know the British don't have the best reputation when it comes to teeth, but here's what the researchers found after collecting information from 50 dentists: Cavity-ridden baby teeth don't appear to lead to problematic adult teeth.

So why bother filling baby teeth at all? In some cases, a tooth needs to be filled or pulled when the child is in pain. And experts say that problems with teeth can lead to other health problems.

Here in the U.S. tooth decay is on the rise in children ages two to five. Yet one in four children haven't been to the dentist in the past year, and toddlers skip checkups more than kids of of all other ages. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children should visit a pediatric dentist within six months after the eruption of the first tooth or by age one.

On the other hand, dental work can be expensive, especially if you don't have insurance. And if the new British research is right, you might not have anything to worry about.

What do you think? Will you get your toddler's cavities filled?