Are Baby Teeth Important?

Smiling kid
Are Baby Teeth  Important?

Simply put, yes! I have seen many parents opt to pull their child’s baby tooth rather than fill a cavity because “it is only a baby tooth and will come out eventually anyway.” Baby teeth serve important purposes such as helping the child to speak and chew normally.  Baby teeth also hold a place for permanent teeth to come in properly.  They also serve as scaffolding for growth and development of facial structures.

Will Pacifiers and Thumb Sucking Harm My Baby’s Teeth?

According to the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, pacifiers and thumb sucking only present a problem if they persist for a long time, such as when the permanent teeth began to arrive, about age six.

Can I Brush My Baby’s Teeth?

Yes, but without fluoride toothpaste. You can use a small toothbrush with soft bristles at bedtime to remove plaque and bacteria. Instead of using adult toothpaste with fluoride, just use a small amount of children’s toothpaste. There are several soft bristled toothbrushes and toothpaste on the market that are designed specifically for infants.

When Can I Use Fluoride Toothpaste for my Child?

At age six, a child should be ready to use toothpaste with fluoride. It is very important that only a small amount of toothpaste is used, such as the amount of a pea. The child should also be watched while brushing to be sure they spit out the excess toothpaste instead of swallowing it.

What Is the Proper way to Brush my Child’s Teeth?

Brushing your children’s teeth at least twice a day is very important, but it should also be done properly.  Make large circle movements or up and down.

When Should I Take My Child to the Dentist for the First Time?

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children should visit a  dentist when their first tooth comes in or no later than their first birthday.

How Often Should my Child Have a Dental Check Up?

Most children should see their dentist for a regular cleaning and check up every six months. Your dentist will determine if there are any special circumstances that might require more frequent visits.

What Will Happen at My Child’s Check Up?

Many children are terrified of the dentist, but going to the dentist doesn’t have to be scary if they know what to expect.  Following an older sibling can help but so can going every six months to the same dentist.  Building a relationship with your dentist and the entire dental team is the best ways to prevent fears.

When Will my Child get Permanent Teeth?

Each child is different.  Some start as early as 5 others as late as 8.  Children who get their baby teeth late will lose them late as well.  Children take about five to six years to lose them all which is usually about age 11 or 12.  That is why it is so important to prevent and treat cavities as early as possible.  Early tooth loss at age 4 or 5 must be dealt with carefully to allow all of the permanent teeth to erupt normally.

I hope you have enjoyed this discussion on baby teeth.  Please send in your comments and I will address them.  Thank you!!

Dr. Philip Estes