New parents often have many questions about how to care for their child’s teeth. We all know that children have two sets of teeth. Primary teeth are temporary and begin to emerge between the ages of 6-12 months. These teeth are then replaced with permanent teeth around the age of 6. This process can continue into adolescence.
Parents commonly wonder about the importance of routine brushing and flossing for their toddler since the teeth will be lost anyway. Yes, baby teeth will fall out, but it is still vitally important that their teeth remain clean and cavity free. There are a number of good reasons for protecting the health of your child’s baby teeth.
Developing Good Habits
It’s important for children to develop good oral hygiene habits early so that they become part of their daily routines. Primary teeth should be cleaned with the same seriousness and thoroughness as permanent teeth, so that when your child’s permanent teeth emerge your child has the skills necessary to care for them properly.
Making Space for Permanent Teeth
Primary teeth maintain the spacing of your child’s teeth so that permanent teeth have room to emerge. Your child may develop decay or infection and lose the primary tooth before the permanent tooth is ready to emerge. Surrounding teeth may begin to take over the empty space and close it. In turn, this causes the permanent tooth to grow in crooked because it doesn’t have enough room on the gum line.
Chewing and Eating
Primary teeth emerge around the same time that your child starts to eat solid foods. You may not think of chewing as a learned skill, but as your child begins to eat tougher, more difficult foods, they develop the ability to chew foods thoroughly. If your child loses primary teeth to cavity or infection, it can inhibit their ability to chew effectively.
One of the most important reasons your child needs all of their primary teeth is to allow them to learn to speak properly. When teeth are missing, children are more likely to develop speech impediment like lisps.
These examples illustrate some of the reasons that it is important to protect the health of your child’s baby teeth. Both the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that your child a see a dentist by age one. We want to give your child a head start on a lifetime of excellent or health, and we will be happy to help you understand what your child needs to maintain a healthy mouth and adorable smile!
If you'd like to learn more about protecting primary teeth, or are interested in scheduling a dental appointment for your child, please contact our Wilmington dental office.