In lieu of our recent cavity free club contest, we would like shed some light on the importance of healthy baby teeth.
Baby teeth, also known as primary teeth are equally as important as adult teeth. Many times we hear the question, “If my child’s baby teeth are just going to fall out anyway, why is important to keep them clean or treat them?” This is a great question. Not only can keeping baby teeth healthy reflect your child’s overall health and wellbeing, but it also plays an important role in the proper positioning and formation of the adult or “permanent” teeth.
Primary teeth start to form before birth, and start to erupt in the mouth between the ages of 6 months to 1 year typically. These teeth continue to come in until a child is around 2 years of age, when they should have a total of 20 baby teeth. At this point, the baby teeth will be kept until the ages of 6-7 when the first permanent teeth will start to erupt; all the way to ages 12-14 when the last baby tooth should be lost. During this time, it is crucial for a child’s healthy development and chewing ability for these baby teeth to be in optimal condition. Poor condition of these teeth can negatively affect speech development and proper growth and nourishment. Improper oral hygiene and poor dietary habits can lead to severe tooth decay and even pain in baby teeth. If left untreated, tooth decay can also progress into harmful infections affecting the whole body.
Another major role that the primary teeth play is that of a space maintainer for the proper positioning of the permanent teeth. If baby teeth are lost or pulled too early, the other teeth can shift causing the blockage of the permanent teeth from erupting and potential mild to severe crowding of the adult teeth. This may cause issues that are much more difficult, time consuming, and costly to correct with braces the longer they are ignored. If extracting a baby tooth is un-avoidable, the dentist or orthodontist can make a space maintainer device to hold the space until the permanent tooth is ready to erupt.
Thankfully, many of the issues that are caused by cavities in baby teeth can be easily avoided. With proper oral hygiene, good diet, and regular trips to the dentist you can help prevent and identify any potential issues before they become a major problem. It is advised to help brush your child’s teeth until they are able to properly clean and reach all surfaces of their teeth. A good indication of this would be when they are able to tie their shoes on their own. Also, brushing at least twice a day, both morning and night is one of the most important ways to keep a child’s mouth healthy. It is also recommended to avoid high sugary diets, including sugary juice and soda.
Possibly the most important reason why we encourage taking care of baby teeth is because good habits start early. A child who takes care of their baby teeth often develops into an adult who cares for their oral hygiene. Developing good habits and proper oral hygiene in early childhood can lead to a life full of healthy, beautiful smiles. It may even lead to your child becoming a member of our Cavity Free Club!!

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