Baby Teeth are Important!
….and not just to the Tooth Fairy
Many kids think the only purpose for their baby teeth is as source of income from the tooth fairy. But baby teeth have a much more important role to play! They hold and maintain the space the adult tooth will eventually fill.
Pulling or losing baby teeth too early, without maintaining that space, can cause crooked adult teeth, bite issues, gum issues, and can mean any braces put on will have to be worn a lot longer.
Too early means the baby tooth is lost long before the adult tooth is ready to come out. If that happens, dentists often need to insert a space maintainer so the surrounding teeth don’t shift and take over the space.
Care of Baby Teeth is Important!
Here are 12 important things Dr. Will Taylor wants you to know about the care of your children’s teeth.
- If children can’t tie their own shoes, they do not have the dexterity to brush their teeth. Even if they can tie their shoes but are only 4 or 5, a parent still needs to brush their teeth for them or supervise them.
- When brushing a child’s teeth, be sure to brush every tooth surface.
- Be sure to floss if your child’s teeth touch each other! Most cavities are found between teeth. Even if your child’s teeth aren’t touching, teaching how to floss and establishing it as a regular part of the teeth brushing routine is wise.
- Over-the-counter mouth rinses made specifically for kids help a lot. Just make sure your child is old enough not to swallow the rinse.
- Be sure to use fluoride toothpaste for kids and a soft kid-size toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes for kids are great because they are on timers.
- Timing is everything! Be sure kids are brushing their teeth for 2 minutes two to three times a day. Have your kids try this app from Oral B or this one from Brush DJ on your smartphone or tablet to help time their brushing.
- The dentist should apply a sealant to all kids’ teeth but especially for kids with deep grooves in their teeth.
- Make sure your kids are eating a healthy balanced diet. Sugar and sugary drinks really can be enemies to your children’s dental health without proper home care. That includes fruit juice and milk, which contain a lot of natural sugar. If nothing else, have your kids rinse their mouths with mouth rinse or water after eating or drinking.
- Parents, be sure to inspect your children’s teeth as you help them brush. Brown spots, discoloration or any other problems require a trip to the dentist.
- Children should have their first dental appointment at about 2 years old. This not only helps the child to get used to the dentist but also is very important for the parents to be fully educated on caring for their children’s teeth.
- Some children, even with terrific dental hygiene, are cavity-prone. Often this is genetic but can be addressed by seeing the dentist on a regular schedule.
- Best practice for all kids is to go to the dentist twice a year for check ups and fluoride treatments.
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