Health of primary teeth an early predictor of adult teeth

January 8, 2018, Case Western Reserve University
Credit: Julia Lucia

Do children really need their baby teeth? Many believe that primary teeth aren't all that important. After all, they typically fall out by age 12, and new, adult teeth take their place.

That line of thinking tends to leave experts in the dental community with a grimace.

In a practical and medical sense, the health of primary teeth is an early predictor of adult teeth. A research team headed by the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine sought to improve parents' and caregivers' of the importance of .

The team's findings were published in a recent article in Contemporary Clinic Trials.

Unlike other medical issues, tooth decay and cavities are preventable with adequate self-management strategies.

"Parents' failure to recognize the importance of baby teeth is associated with adverse health habits and outcomes for their children, such as less tooth-brushing and a lower likelihood of having preventative dental visits and higher rates of tooth decay," said Suchitra Nelson, assistant dean in the dental school's Department of Community Dentistry, who leads the research.

Other researchers include Mary Beth Slusar and Jeffrey Albert, both also from the Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine, and Christine Riedy, from the Harvard University School of Dental Medicine.

Several ongoing, randomized clinical trials are testing oral health-behavior interventions to change outcomes. In addition, researchers are looking at the perceptions of chronic and cavities between parents who did and did not believe baby teeth were important.

One approach used in self-managing is the Common Sense Model of Self-Regulation, a psychological framework describing the person's perception of a chronic disease that drives coping and action planning.

In other words, changing parental perception is fundamentally important to view cavities and decay as a chronic disease, rather than an acute symptomatic disease, to improve dental outcomes.

Dental issues more disproportionately and adversely affect children in lower-income households. According to the article, about $450 million has been spent nationally on preventable dental conditions on Medicaid-enrolled children age 1 and 20 between 2010 and 2011.

The article notes that the Common Sense Model behavioral intervention can reach a wider audience—parents, providers and primary-care practices—to change perceptions about baby and generally improve children's oral health.

Explore further: Contrary to popular belief, dental care for baby teeth is vital

Related Stories

Contrary to popular belief, dental care for baby teeth is vital

January 22, 2015
Dental researchers hope to vastly improve oral health in children by countering a common misperception that dental care for baby teeth isn't important because they just fall out anyway.

Research explores lasting effects of early preventive dental care in Medicaid-enrolled children

March 13, 2017
Research out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health suggests preventive dental care provided by a dentist for children before the age of 2 enrolled in Medicaid in Alabama may lead to more care ...

What outcomes are associated with early preventive dental care among Medicaid-enrolled children in Alabama

February 27, 2017
Preventive dental care provided by a dentist for children before the age of 2 enrolled in Medicaid in Alabama was associated with more frequent subsequent treatment for tooth decay, more visits and more spending on dental ...

Social deprivation sits at the heart of children's oral decay

September 8, 2017
A study of 347 children in Plymouth aged between four and six years has shown that social deprivation is an indicator of increased risk of dental decay in children. However, obesity was not associated with decay in this group ...

Dental public health expert reacts to latest figures on the number of children who have had teeth extracted in hospital

March 21, 2017
The Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons has obtained and published data which show a shocking 24 per cent rise in the number of tooth extractions in hospital for children aged four and under in the ...

Researchers hope to improve dental health by changing caregiver's behavior

May 4, 2015
Studies have long associated low-income areas with poor oral health. But dental researchers at Case Western Reserve University and University of Washington sensed that other factors related to income may be at work—in particular, ...

Recommended for you

Absence of a transcription factor halts tooth development in mid-stride

April 11, 2018
Amjad Javed, Ph.D., and University of Alabama at Birmingham colleagues have found a key role in tooth development for the transcription factor Specificity protein 7, or Sp7.

Toothpaste alone does not prevent dental erosion or hypersensitivity

March 14, 2018
The rising prevalence of dental erosion and dentin hypersensitivity has led to the emergence of more toothpastes that claim to treat these problems. While no such toothpaste existed 20 years ago, today, many such brands are ...

Study: Absence of key protein, TTP, rapidly turns young bones old

March 10, 2018
The absence of a protein critical to the control of inflammation may lead to rapid and severe bone loss, according to a new University at Buffalo study.

Sipping hot fruit teas can lead to tooth erosion

February 26, 2018
An investigation by scientists at King's College London into why some people suffer tooth erosion while others don't has found that it's not just what they eat and drink, but how they eat and drink, that increases their chances ...

Lack of guidance may delay a child's first trip to the dentist

February 19, 2018
Without a doctor or dentist's guidance, some parents don't follow national recommendations for early dental care for their children, a new national poll finds.

Researcher uses stem cells to attack bacteria and regenerate dental pulp

February 7, 2018
Emi Shimizu's research could someday transform a procedure dental patients dread: the root canal.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.