Caring for your Child's Baby Teeth
Caring for your child’s primary teeth, sometimes called “baby teeth”, is just as important as caring for their permanent teeth. Tooth decay in young children’s primary teeth is increasing. This indicates that children are not being taught proper oral care, are not being helped with proper oral care, and are consuming a lot of sugar.
Some people think that because the primary teeth are not permanent, it is not important to keep care of them. However, it is arguably more important to keep care of primary teeth because of the role they play in a child’s development. Primary teeth play and integral role in: learning to eat and chew, speaking and speech development, the growth of the jawbone, and, arguably, the self-esteem of the child.
When there is decay in primary teeth, it is much more likely that decay will develop in adult teeth. Oral health is also a huge factor in overall body health. If children do not have a healthy mouth, they are susceptible to loss of teeth and infection. There have been a few highly publicized instances of this, such as a young boy who passed away when bacteria from an abscessed tooth spread to his brain.
If primary teeth are decayed, they can sometimes be filled, but if the damage is extensive, they may be have to be extracted. Because baby teeth fill certain spaces in the mouth, extracting them may lead to problems when adult teeth emerge, such as over-crowding. Baby teeth are important placeholders for permanent teeth and should be treated with care.
Another concern is habit enforcement. If a child is not taught proper hygiene at a young age, it will be more difficult for them to implement proper cleaning techniques later on. Dental visits should start young as well. The ADA recommends that within six months of the appearance of the first tooth, that children visit the dentist. This first visit should occur no later than the child’s first birthday. The dentist can demonstrate how to clean the child’s teeth properly as well as check the health of the emerging teeth. As children grow older, parents should still help their young children brush properly. Young children don’t have the dexterity clean their teeth properly.
The final concern is the rise in sweet and processed snacks given to children, as well as sweet drinks instead of fluoridated tap water. Leaving a child to suck on a sippy cup or bottle filled with a sweet drink can be extremely harmful to their teeth. Cavities in children will decline when people realize the importance that the health of primary teeth have on the overall health of the child and the child’s development.