Let's make those baby teeth count!
This is a question I hear all the time as a dental hygiene professional.
Why should I be concerned about my child’s baby teeth when they’ll fall out anyway?
As a mom, I get it. Why put the kids through dental work? Alright parents, let me tell you why it is so important to treat childhood decay!
We don’t usually think of infants’ as having teeth, but they actually start forming before birth. Your child’s exceptionally white teeth, called “milk or baby teeth” start to erupt at about six months of age. Most often the first teeth to come in are the four top and bottom front teeth. Cutest thing ever! Baby teeth keep coming in for the next two to three years, until there are a total of 20 baby teeth.
Baby teeth are important to your child’s physical, emotional and social development. As a clinical director and hygienist, Pax Dental is dedicated to making sure children enjoy the best dental health from infancy to adulthood.
Pediatric Dental Cavities.
Did you know that more than half of children aged 6 to 8 have had at least one cavity in a baby tooth? Childhood tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in the United States! If your kiddo has a cavity, don’t worry! You are not alone!
Dental caries can cause a number of problems. Usually, a cavity goes unnoticed by a child until it is fairly deep. At first, they will start to notice some slight discomfort leading into more significant problems. Severe pain, swelling with infection, and bone loss are some of the more common symptoms. These issues could lead to deeper problems like negative effects on the erupting permanent teeth below, speech issues, and nutritional deficiencies.
Let’s look at my top five reasons why baby teeth count:
Eating - Baby teeth allow your child to devleop proper chewing and swallowing habits. Tooth pain from a cavity can lead to nutritional deficiencies if the child is not able to properly chew their food.
Speech – Correct pronunciation during speech is because of the proper positioning of baby teeth to assist. During early years, that’s particularly important when your child learns to speak.
Here come the adult teeth! - Normally, a baby tooth remains in your child’s mouth until it’s replaced by an emerging adult tooth. Permanent teeth develop and grow underneath baby teeth until they’re ready to break through the gums. The baby tooth serves as a placeholder, saving space for properly aligned adult teeth.
Shifting - Loss of a baby tooth by cavities, trauma, or heredity, leaves a space. This may lead to the shifting of other teeth, and can cause adult teeth to be crooked.
Healthy Baby, Healthy Adult Teeth – The main cause of damage to baby teeth is oral bacteria in acidic foods, drinks, and snacks. This damage can cause pain and infection. Enamel, the hardest material in the human body, forms the outer covering of each tooth. Bacteria in these acids eat away the enamel, leading to cavities.
Cavities, Cavities (did I say cavities?) – Large cavities and abscesses in baby teeth establish a bacterial petri dish affecting the eruption of permanent teeth. If your child’s baby teeth are not kept healthy, the permanent teeth will be more susceptible to cavities and dental problems in the future.
One by one, by one by one.
Baby teeth fall out in the same order that they emerged. Most children start losing baby teeth around six or seven years old. You know, ‘all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.’ Those toothless smiles make the best picture memories! By 12 to 14 years old, most children have all their permanent teeth. The adult molars come in behind the baby teeth as the jaws grow but, some won’t lose their last “baby” molars until their late teens or early 20s. We finally grow up! Each baby tooth that comes out, a new one should replace it! But until that is ready to happen, Pax Dental is here to assure that baby teeth and gums stay healthy and happy. This sets the stage for healthy permanant teeth.
Ready, Set, Schedule.
Really, we can't wait to meet you! Not sure what you need? We treat the entire family. Yes! Kiddos too! Come in for a check-up or for a teeth cleaning. We can take it from there and evaluate what might be the next step in your dental care. You can schedule by phone (301-863-8822) or by our online portal. See you soon!
Blog by: Ashleigh Andrews, RDH, Clinical Director