The baby teeth first appear when your child is between six and 12 months of age, and they start falling out around the age of five or six. Since these teeth are only around for a short time, it’s common for parents to question their importance. However, baby teeth actually play a vital role in your child’s overall and dental health — both now and as your child continues to grow.
Why Are Baby Teeth Important?
We often get asked why baby teeth need to be cared for as thoroughly as adult teeth. The answer is very simple: the baby teeth help your child to speak and chew, and they hold space for the permanent teeth to come into the right spots. By the time your child turns three, they will most likely have a full set of twenty teeth. Over the course of several years, those teeth will start to fall out and get replaced by adult teeth.
Keeping Baby Teeth Healthy
As an adult, you know that having too many sugary drinks, sweets, and unhealthy snacks can be detrimental to your dental health. Your child’s baby teeth are no different. In fact, they can develop a cavity quicker and more easily than an adult tooth. The enamel (the outer layer of the tooth) is much thinner on a baby tooth than on an adult tooth, so it’s important to brush and floss your child’s teeth every day just like you do your own.
Teaching your child to care for their teeth at an early age will help them understand the importance good oral hygiene and set them up for decades of happy and healthy teeth. Emphasize the importance of brushing and flossing daily, and help your child brush until they are capable of doing so on their own. Talk to your child about healthy snacks, and keep plenty of low-sugar alternatives in the home. String cheese, carrot sticks, and nuts are all healthy snacks that help keep baby teeth in good shape.
The Importance of Dental Care
Regular visits to the dentist also help keep your child’s baby teeth healthy. A dental hygienist can remove plaque that often forms at the gum line, helping to prevent cavities. They can also point out areas your child may be missing while brushing and help teach them techniques to brush more thoroughly. If your child does develop cavities in their baby teeth, their dentist can make sure they are detected and filled early before serious harm occurs.
Baby teeth may not last forever, but they are vital for your child’s ongoing health. Take good care of these baby teeth, and contact us if you’re looking for a kind and knowledgeable pediatric dentist.