As you wrestle with your busy toddler to brush and floss their teeth twice a day, you may be wondering if it really matters. After all, baby teeth will soon fall out anyways, right? Wrong! Although you may get tired of trying to brush your babies’ teeth or reminding your first grader time and time again to brush before bed, skipping a child’s oral hygiene routine is never a good idea. There are many very important reasons why baby teeth really do matter. Beyond brushing and flossing daily, your child should start seeing a dentist for regular check ups by the time they reach their first birthday, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations.
Primary teeth, or baby teeth, have a critical role in your child’s early physical, social and emotional development.
Healthy baby teeth:
- Foster good nutrition through proper chewing
- Aid in speech development
- Build self-esteem by providing a beautiful smile
- Enable a child to pay attention and learn in school without the distraction of dental pain
- Save space in the jaw that is needed for proper development of permanent teeth
One of the most surprising facts about baby teeth for parents is that the cavity-causing bacteria, strep mutans, that can build up in a child’s mouth with baby teeth may still remain once the baby teeth fall out. Which means that when those beautiful new adult teeth come in, the bacteria is there ready to attack the enamel and cause cavities. By making sure your child is brushing regularly and avoiding sugary snacks and drinks, you can successfully keep the bacteria away. It is important for parents to realize that every time you allow your child to take a bottle to bed or skip teeth brushing, you are inviting stubborn cavity-causing bacteria into your little one’s mouth.
Many dentists, such as Gilreath Family Dentistry, can provide comprehensive dental care to your entire family. Ask your dentist about how sealants, fluoride and other preventative pediatric dental procedures can help keep your child’s teeth healthy.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,