“Baby teeth are temporary, so why are they so important?” Sometimes, baby teeth are overlooked in how vital they are to a smile that lasts a lifetime. But, make no mistake: baby teeth are incredibly important to your child’s smile development, and overall health.
Baby Teeth Help Smile Alignment
Baby teeth are temporary, however, if a baby tooth is knocked out too soon, it can lead to other teeth crowding the vacant spot. This can cause alignment issues when the permanent tooth begins to emerge, and could cause crooked teeth and biting problems. If your child has a misaligned smile, or biting problems, then the issues will need to be corrected with oral appliances later down the road – and that can cost a lot of money.
While caring for baby teeth won’t prevent the future need of an oral appliance, it certainly helps lower the likelihood that your child will need one as they get older.
Avoiding Cavities Helps Kids Stay in School
On average, oral health ailments cause children to miss just over two days of school every year. According to one study, more than 51 million school hours in the United States are lost each year due to dental disease. Lost school hours are closely linked to poor academic performance, and can cause your child’s grades to suffer. This means that your child’s oral health is directly related to their academic performance.
Additionally, tooth decay is painful and distracting, and can cause your child to lose focus in school or even prevent them from participating in the class discussion.
Cavities Can Leave Children more Prone to Infection
Cavities and infected teeth are riddled with unhealthy bacteria. If left untreated, a tooth infection can cause a deeper infection in the pulp tissue. This may result in a hospital trip or medical emergency, according to the AAPD. Additionally, severe cavities and tooth decay are major causes of tooth loss, which makes the body much more prone to infection.
By preventing cavities in baby teeth, you can help your child avoid more serious complications later on.
How to Care for Baby Teeth
Avoiding cavities begins with proper, routine oral care. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises that everyone brushes their teeth twice per day, for two minutes each session. By brushing for the proper amount of time, your child can clean all of the bad bacteria off their teeth, and help prevent cavities. Be sure that they brush the entire surface of their teeth – including the backside, which is often neglected.
Use Fluoridated Toothpaste
Toothpaste with fluoride strengthens enamel through a process called remineralization – which can help prevent cavities. When choosing fluoridated toothpaste, make sure that it has the ADA seal of approval to ensure that it has been rigorously tested and approved.
Visit our Dental Practice
Tooth decay is the most widespread diseases among children today – and it’s almost entirely preventable. Tooth decay (cavities) is 5 times more common than asthma, 4 times more common than childhood obesity and 20 times more common childhood diabetes.
Schedule an appointment with our office if your child is experiencing tooth pain or sensitivity, as these symptoms may indicate that they have a cavity that needs to be fixed by a pediatric dentist. We will provide a treatment plan that works for your child’s needs, and sets them up to achieve a healthy smile that can last a lifetime.