Have you ever wondered if your kiddo’s baby teeth really, well, matter? After all, they’re going to fall out and be replaced by presumably more important permanent teeth. Is it a big deal if a baby tooth gets a cavity? Can’t you just have it pulled out by a children’s dentist if things get too bad?
Baby teeth actually have some important functions for your child, and you should be treating them with as much care as you do your own permanent teeth. Good hygiene habits like brushing twice a day and flossing at least once per day are essential for these momentary molars. Visiting Dentistry for Children, your Sandy, UT pediatric dentist, before all your child’s baby teeth have erupted is the best way to ensure their health.
Read on for some surprising facts about baby teeth and why you should be taking them seriously.
Appreciate Baby Teeth for Their Physical Uses
The main purpose of your teeth is to tear and pulverize your food. That’s what your child’s baby teeth (also known as primary/deciduous teeth) are for, too. You don’t want your five-year-old eating mashed peas from a jar! Maintain the health of your child’s primary teeth to give them the opportunity to eat solid food well.
Kids are picky. If your little one has a toothache, they aren’t exactly going to gravitate towards crunchy vegetables or juicy fruit. Healthy baby teeth contribute to healthy, nourished kids.
Teeth aren’t just for eating, though. As your child is growing and learning important skills like talking, they need their teeth in order to pronounce words clearly and correctly. A child whose smile is fraught with pain or empty spaces will quickly grow frustrated, and speech development may be impacted.
Let Baby Teeth Pave the Way for Permanent Teeth
Despite the name, baby teeth aren’t just for babies. Secondary molars don’t typically erupt until somewhere between ages 11 and 13, which puts the pressure on your child’s primary molars to last a long time!
As your child grows, their baby teeth also serve an important role in facial bone and muscle growth. Your child’s appearance is greatly impacted by the structure of their face.
Deciduous teeth serve as space-savers for their future replacements. Permanent teeth will grow where there’s room. Without baby teeth to guide them into place, permanent teeth could end up overcrowding your child’s mouth, leading to expensive orthodontic measures in the future.
Don’t Underestimate the Impact Baby Teeth Have on Your Child’s Emotional Health
Kids realize at a very early age that a smile full of holes and crooked teeth is unappealing. Your child deserves to feel confident about their grin. Don’t send them to school with rotten teeth and a speech impediment!
Primary teeth are the starting point for good brushing/flossing habits. Kids who learn how to brush their baby teeth will continue these good habits as their permanent teeth erupt. Once your child is old enough, flossing primary teeth regularly will develop habits to prevent periodontal disease.
Most importantly, cavities hurt. There is no reason to cause your child unnecessary pain that is entirely preventable. Kids who brush twice daily are less likely to develop cavities.
Make Primary Teeth a Priority for You and for Your Child
Raising your child to value oral health is much easier than intervening when they’re older. By practicing dental hygiene from the beginning, you can teach your little ones important routines that will pay off their entire lives.
First, treat baby teeth and gums with as much care as you do your own permanent teeth. Wipe infants’ gums with a soft cloth, and once your toddler’s teeth start erupting, be sure to brush them with a fluoridated toothpaste. Start flossing when your child first has teeth that are touching, and be sure to assist your child until they have the necessary motor skills to brush thoroughly and gently for two minutes, twice a day.
Your child needs to know how to brush correctly. Teach them good habits and reward them to reinforce good oral hygiene. Be sure to bring your little one to Dentistry for Children for preventive care as soon as their first tooth grows in.
Dental exams can find early signs of tooth decay or gum disease. As permanent teeth replace baby teeth, we will polish them and remove plaque. We’ll also expand our preventive care to include fluoride and sealants.
Don’t wait until your child is in pain to call a children’s dentist. Prevent them from experiencing mouth pain by caring for their teeth — all of them.