Are Baby Teeth Important?
It’s not surprising that many of the habits we form as children follow us into adulthood. From social patterns to dietary habits, much of what we learn during childhood sets the stage for the rest of our lives.
This same sentiment rings true when it comes to the health of your smile! Oral care habits and dental checkups are important for a number of reasons but are especially crucial for little ones. In observance of National Children’s Dental Health Month, Dr. Mark Tall explains more about the importance of healthy oral habits for children.
Good Oral Health For Children
Here at Sandcreek Dental, we encourage our adult patients to teach their children about the importance of brushing and flossing as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we know that many patients may believe that primary teeth aren’t important because they will eventually fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth. This is simply untrue — Primary teeth serve an important purpose and act as the foundation for a healthy smile.
According to the American Dental Association, parents should begin brushing their child’s teeth as soon as they come in. At the time of birth, the baby’s primary teeth are already present in the jaw. Teeth will typically begin to erupt between 6 months and a year. While every child is different, the teeth at the front of the mouth on the top and bottom will typically be the first to appear.
Parents can make dental health a priority by taking their child to the dentist. Children should be taken to the dentist after the first tooth comes in and no later than their first birthday. At this appointment, your dentist will look for any early signs of potential problems. Your dentist can also explain how to properly care for your child’s teeth and how to handle poor habits like thumb sucking.
The Importance Of Baby Teeth
You can expect most children to have all 20 primary teeth by the time they’re 3 years old. It’s important to teach children proper oral care because healthy baby teeth set the stage for a healthy smile as an adult. Other important functions of baby teeth include:
Self-Confidence: Feeling happy about your smile is important for anyone’s self-confidence and is especially important for children while learning social skills. To promote self-esteem and positive social interactions, teach your child good oral habits so they can have a healthy, beautiful smile.
Speech Development: Did you know that teeth are extremely important for proper speech development? Primary teeth help proper syllable pronunciation and facilitate clear speech.
Straight Teeth: Primary teeth are also responsible for holding the space for the permanent teeth. This promotes proper alignment and jaw development. If a child loses their baby teeth prematurely, adult teeth can come in crooked and may cause a child to need corrective orthodontic treatment later in life.
Good Oral Health: Poor oral care can result in childhood periodontal disease. This disease will then damage gum tissue, supporting ligaments and bone that are essential for a healthy smile. Without proper treatment, children will most likely continue to suffer dental problems as their adult teeth come in.
Promoting Oral Care For Children
Now that we know the importance of dental care for children, how can we promote healthy oral habits? Some of the best ways to promote a healthy smile for children include:
- Establishing A Routine: Dental professionals recommend brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Parents should establish this daily oral routine for their children in order to set them up with a lifelong healthy smile.
- Education About Cavities And Gum Disease: Although children should understand brushing and flossing, they should also be taught what could happen if they don’t take care of their teeth. Learning about the dangers of tooth decay and gum disease can be extra motivation to brush and floss.
- Set A Good Example: If parents want their children to take care of their dental health, they should be a good example of what to do. Children take the lead of their parents, so seeing their parents brush and floss daily can serve as a great example of proper dental care.
- Stop Poor Oral Habits: If your child sucks their thumb, you should try to stop this habit as soon as possible. Thumb sucking can cause dental health problems because it causes poor alignment of teeth.
- Limit Sugar Consumption: As most parents know, sugar consumption should be limited. Sugar is dangerous for oral health because bacteria will metabolize sugar and create an enamel-eroding acid, which spurs on tooth decay and gum disease.
Contact Sandcreek Dental
If you have any concerns regarding your dental health, don’t hesitate to contact our office! Whether you need dental treatment or your child needs a routine checkup, we’re here to provide healthy, beautiful smiles. To get started today, contact our office to schedule your next appointment with Dr. Tall and the talented staff here at Sandcreek Dental.