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Why are Baby Teeth so Important?

Jun 5

Written by: Dr. Bryan Sigg
6/5/2018 1:29 PM  RssIcon

Did you know the number one dental problem among preschoolers is tooth decay? By age 5, nearly 50% of children have one or more cavities. Many parents think cavities in baby teeth are inconsequential because they will be replaced, but this belief doesn't hold true. Dental decay in baby teeth can negatively affect permanent teeth and lead to future dental problems.

Why are Baby Teeth so Important?

Spacing for Adult Teeth: Baby teeth hold space in the jaw adult teeth. If a baby tooth is lost too early, the teeth beside it may drift into empty space. When it's time for adult teeth to come in, there may not be  enough room for them, leading the adult teeth to become misaligned teeth.

Healthy Baby Teeth are more Likely to Lead to Healthy Adult Teeth: Cavities are caused by the bacteria in your mouth. As bacteria grows and multiplies, it can migrate below the gums, causing infection of the underlying adult tooth that is still in the development period. Not only is this painful for the child, but it can delay or prevent the developing adult tooth from erupting. As a result, extraction of the tooth may be required. Even if the underlying tooth survives, it may be malformed, discolored, or permanently stained.

Healthy Baby Teeth Allow for Proper Chewing and Promote Jaw Development: Properly chewed food is easier to digest. Swallowing partially chewed food or swallowing quickly can lengthen digestion time. The chewing process is also exercise for the jaw and facial muscles, which helps them develop and form.

Healthy baby teeth create beautiful smiles that build self-esteem: Even young children can feel self-conscious about appearance. A healthy smile can promote confidence at any age.

The good news is that oral health for your little one is easy! Below are a few tips:

Establish a dental routine:

- As soon as your child has a tooth, help your child brush his or her teeth

- Note that there are different types of brushes designed to address the various needs of children at all ages

- Supervise and ensure that plaque is removed

- Look out for brown or white spots, which may be early signs of tooth decay

Promote a healthy diet:

- Teeth, bones and soft tissue require a healthy diet -- feed your children foods with vitamins and minerals from the five food groups, like low fat-yogurts and cheeses

- Limit snacking

        > Even a little nibble can create plaque acids. These "plaque attacks" can last up to 20 minutes after a meal or snack has been finished, so it's best to limit snacking between meals.

- Make sure that your child's drinking water is fluoridated. Fluoride is the greatest protection against tooth decay.

Stay Away from Sugar:

Sugar is the enemy! The sugars and starches found in many foods like candies, soft drinks, chips and other snacks combine with plaque on teeth to create acids. These acids attack the tooth enamel and often lead to cavities 

        > Sticky sugar causes the most serious damage because it stays in the mouth the longest--think: caramel, toffee, chewing gum.

Dental Checkups:

Typically children first see a dentist between three and four years old but can definitely be seen sooner if a problem is detected. A child's teeth begin forming before birth. As early as four months old, the primary or "baby" teeth push through the gums--the lower central incisors are first, then upper central incisors. The remainder of the 20 primary teeth usually erupt by age three.

At Cornerstone Dental, we're proud to see patients of all ages and specialize in early oral health. Our priority is to set a foundation for your child's future dental health and ensure your little one is comfortable with Dr. Sigg and our staff. We're a family focused office and love when we can treat parents as well as our kids.

Click below to schedule an appointment. We can't wait to meet you!

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