Baby teeth are temporary, so why do they matter? This is a question that almost every dentist comes across. Well, the truth is baby teeth or primary teeth matter. That’s because they play a major role in the physical, social and emotional development of a child.
In this read, we are going to take a look at some of the reasons primary teeth are essential and how to properly take care of them.
Tooth Alignment & Position
Baby teeth save space for the permanent (adult) teeth and ideally guide them into the right position. If a primary tooth is lost early for whatever reason, the adjacent teeth will top or drift into that position. As such, the adult tooth won’t have adequate space to come into and can even be blocked from erupting into that room.
Healthy Adult Teeth
Permanent teeth grow and develop in close proximity to the roots of the primary teeth. Baby teeth are way smaller and have thin enamel, making it easy for cavities to spread. If these cavities are not attended to, the primary teeth can develop an abscess or an infection which can hamper teeth development and even lead to the damage of adult teeth underneath.
Facial & Speech Development
The lips, cheeks, and tongue deflect off the teeth when forming sounds. When primary teeth are present and in the right position, they aid in the formation of proper pronunciation when talking. The structure of the teeth ideally provides support for the child’s developing facial muscles and also gives shape to their face.
Proper Health & Nutrition
Of course, teeth are required for proper chewing. Oral pain from cavities can result in nutritional deficiencies if the child is unable to chew their food properly. Ideally, if the cavities are left unattended, there’s a high risk of contracting an infection, which can spread to other body organs and even to the brain. The can rapidly turn into an emergency, forcing the child to be hospitalized. There have even been cases where kids have succumbed to a dental abscess.
Self Esteem & Concentration
If a young one is experiencing dental pain, it can substantially affect their ability to pay attention in class. Decayed teeth can ideally affect a child’s self-esteem and confidence which takes a toll on their ability to interact with others. This can ideally result in the child missing classes and parents missing work in order to take them to the dentist.
The takeaway is that good dental care is essential particularly for baby teeth. That being said, here are a few tips that will help with primary teeth care:
It’s usually best to introduce the concept of dental hygiene at around 6 months when the first teeth arrive. Parents usually find it hard to introduce brushing and oral hygiene at this stage, but infants have a habit of putting anything and everything in their mouths so why not a toothbrush? The earlier they get used to the idea of brushing, the better.
For 0 to 2-year-olds, it’s best to just use a toothbrush and water. For those between 2 and 7 years, brushing should be done twice a day with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste. You still need to assist with brushing, while encouraging them to manage their own brushing routine.
Visiting The Dentist
Visiting the dentist at an early age is the foundation of great dental health. Take your young one to the dentist before they hit 2 years, preferably when the first tooth erupts. This gives you the chance to ask hygiene and dietary questions and get professional advice on oral care.
It ideally allows the dentist to create a baseline record for your kid’s dental health and development, thus preventing premature loss of crucial primary teeth through decay.
Minimizing Bottle Feeding
Most infants will be able to use a cup from around 6 months. To prevent tooth decay, it’s advisable to reduce bottle feeding from 12 months old. You should also do away with the fizzy drinks. Milk and cooled boiled water are the best fluids when it comes to healthy dental development.
Given the importance of baby teeth, you must keep the above tips in mind.