Many parents mistakenly believe that baby teeth do not matter since they will eventually fall out. Yet, your children’s dentist will tell you that these first teeth play a vital role in a child’s development. From teaching good dental hygiene habits to making sure your child’s mouth is developing normally, here is what you need to know about the importance of properly caring for baby teeth.
Vital Functions of Baby Teeth
While that first tiny tooth is adorable, it is important to understand that it is important to provide early dental care due to the many functions that baby teeth perform such as the following:
• Help with proper chewing for nutrition
• Help with learning how to speak
• Hold the place in the jaw where permanent teeth will emerge
• Provide an opportunity to teach proper dental hygiene
How to Care for Primary Teeth
Toothbrushing should begin at the moment that first tooth breaks through the gums; however parents can start even earlier by using a finger brush or warm washcloth to wipe the baby’s gums after feedings. Flossing should also be done once a day, and a children’s dentist will recommend that parents should help with oral hygiene until the child develops enough dexterity to do it properly on their own, usually between the ages of seven and nine. In addition to the daily dental hygiene routine, it is important to take your child to their local dentist office when they get their first tooth or by the end of their first year whichever comes first.
When to Seek Treatment
While regular dental visits are important for preventative treatments, it is also important to request an exam from a children’s dentist if you suspect that a problem is developing. Some signs of a problem that requires attention include:
• Brown or black spots on teeth
• Complaints of pain while eating or drinking
• No teeth by the age of one
• Loose or chipped tooth
• Thumb sucking
• Speech difficulties
• Tooth emerges in an odd position
• Mouth sores
• Recent injury to the mouth
Although baby teeth do eventually fall out, these early experiences with proper oral hygiene will help your child to develop lifelong habits that will help them preserve their smile. For this reason, it is important to call your local dentist office today to schedule an appointment to keep those baby teeth looking their best.