In every medical specialty, doctors find that certain parts of the body are misunderstood by members of the public. When it comes to the world of dentistry, there are plenty of misconceptions about baby teeth. One of the most widely-held myths is that rigorous dental hygiene and check-ups aren’t really necessary. After all, the baby teeth will fall out anyway, right?
The truth is that baby teeth play an important role in long-term oral health, and neglecting their care can have long-term consequences. Parents can and should try to educate themselves about dental care for kids. But it’s also the job of every pediatric dentist in Brighton and throughout the country to help educate parents and kids.
If you realize you don’t fully understand the value of baby teeth, here are the five of the most significant things you need to know.
Baby Teeth Provide the Foundation for Future Smiles
Because adult teeth form just under the gums, poor dental hygiene can affect them before they’re even visible. Untreated cavities and decay can lead to issues like dental abscesses. Not only are abscesses painful, but they can also damage the still-developing adult teeth below.
If adult teeth aren’t affected by baby teeth mishaps, it is still important to establish good oral hygiene practices. It would be an epic struggle to introduce a child to toothbrushing for the first time at the age of six when permanent teeth usually first erupt. If kids have a steep learning curve or are resistant to the idea of brushing and flossing regularly and well, their new adult teeth could sustain some serious damage. And that’s nothing to smile about!
The Best Time To Start Brushing Baby Teeth? Before They Show Up
It’s logical to assume that you don’t need to brush your child’s teeth if they don’t yet have teeth. Until recently, it was widely agreed that you were safe to put off toothbrushing until that first tooth popped through the gums. But some experts now suggest establishing an oral hygiene routine much earlier.
That doesn’t mean that you should shove a pointy toothbrush into an infant’s mouth, though! Instead, gently wipe your baby’s gums with a soft, damp washcloth or some gauze around the same time every day as part of your normal routine. This will help your child to get settled into a positive habit. It will also clear bacteria out of your baby’s mouth, allowing them to avoid an infection risk once teeth erupt.
Baby Teeth are Integral to Proper Speech Development
Teeth can do a lot more than chew food. In fact, baby teeth play a critical role in helping children learn how to speak properly. Children’s teeth can start coming in as early as four months of age, and their full set of baby teeth has typically emerged by the age of three. Meanwhile, between the ages of two and five, most children will experience massive growth in their speech skills.
This timing isn’t coincidental. A child’s mouth, lips, and teeth all work in tandem to create clear speech. The teeth, in particular, are responsible for a child’s ability to make certain fricative sounds. Damaged or missing baby teeth can hinder proper language development.
Baby Teeth Hold Space for Permanent Teeth
Babies are born with twenty tooth buds already present underneath the gum line, which will eventually emerge. Adults, on the other hand, will end up with 32 permanent teeth. Why is there such a significant difference? Look at the size of a child’s mouth compared to the size of an adult’s mouth, and it will become clear.
Children have a limited amount of space to accommodate teeth, but as they get bigger, their palate will also expand. Baby teeth generally don’t fall out until permanent teeth are ready to push through. In fact, the loss of a baby tooth is often prompted by a permanent tooth pushing it out of the way and moving into the spot it left behind.
If a baby tooth falls out early due to improper care, the adult tooth that’s supposed to replace it may not be ready to grow. However, a nearby permanent tooth may be ready to make its entrance. If the other permanent tooth doesn’t have its own space available, it will move towards the gap. This leads to dental issues like overcrowding, crookedness, and even impaction.
Major Baby Teeth Problems Are Fixable Under Safe Pediatric Sedation Near You
Some parents already understand why baby teeth need daily care and regular check-ups. But unforeseen situations happen despite parental diligence, leading to things like a minor cavity or a chipped tooth.
Even if a parent is proactive about dental cleanings, they may hesitate to agree to a filling or a cap. In-depth procedures like these require sedation for pain management, which can make parents nervous.
It’s understandable to be anxious about the way that patients will respond to anesthesia at any age. But pediatric sedation in Brighton and beyond is incredibly safe. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) consistently updates their guidelines and communicates best practices to pediatric anesthesiologists.
There are also several types of sedation available, so kids can get the anesthesia that’s best suited for their needs. These include are:
· Nitrous oxide
· Mild sedation
· Moderate sedation
· Deep sedation
· General anesthesia
If you have still had reservations about sedation, communicate them to your child’s dentist. Having an open dialogue can provide valuable information and may even allay your fears.
Visit a Pediatric Dentist in Brighton
If you’re a parent who feels confused or uninformed about pediatric dentistry, that’s okay! Your child’s dentist spent a lot of time in school to gain their knowledge. While there are some great resources online to help demystify the topic, you may want to discuss concerns with someone you know and trust.
The team at Kids City Dental is always happy to share their knowledge and support. We’ll get you in touch with the best pediatric dentist 80601 has to offer!