The Necessity of Baby Teeth
We all know that baby teeth are temporary. Is there really a need to care for them properly? Parents often do not realize that besides using teeth for eating, baby teeth serve many other purposes.
Why Are Baby Teeth Important?
Baby teeth must remain healthy and in place because:
• Baby teeth act as placeholders for permanent teeth.
• The teeth are important for speech development.
• They are necessary for the healthy growth of facial bones and muscles.
• They help young children establish proper brushing and flossing habits.
• They contribute to overall appearance.
Early Cavity Prevention
Depending on the position of the tooth in the mouth, baby teeth need to last 5 to 10 years. However, even before baby teeth erupt, harmful bacteria begins accumulating and growing on baby’s gums. Dental specialists advise parents to let babies drink water or use a soft, moistened cloth to wipe the inside of the mouth and gums after baby drinks formula, juices or after eating foods. Otherwise, when the first tooth appears, decay may begin. Infants should not receive a bottle at naptime for before going to bed. Saliva does not adequately dissolve and rinse the sugars found in these fluids, and honey, sugar or other flavorings should not be used on a pacifier.
At the age of two, children may graduate to using a soft toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of a fluoridated toothpaste. Ensure that the child spits the toothpaste and thoroughly rinses with water. Proper oral care at a young age ensures that baby teeth last until permanent teeth are prepared to emerge. When a permanent tooth becomes fully developed, the roots of the baby tooth dissolve and are absorbed. The new tooth gradually pushes the baby tooth up and out of the way in order to take its place. If a baby tooth is lost too soon from poor oral health or injury, the permanent tooth has a better chance of coming in crooked.
First Dental Check-Up
The American Dental Association advises that parents take youngsters to see dentists for a well baby checkup sometime between the eruption of the first tooth and the age of one. During the visit, the practitioner checks the child’s mouth for potential dental problems. They also evaluate bad habits that could interfere with normal teeth development and positioning.