Some parents get wrapped up in some common misconceptions about their child's first set of teeth. One common myth is that they fall out anyway, so there aren't important. This could not be further from the truth. Here's why.
The First Teeth Serve Important Functions
Just like permanent teeth, a child's first set of teeth are important for many reasons. Yes, they do eventually fall out, but while the teeth are there, they serve important functions. Such as:
- Assisting with chewing and exploring new foods
- Helping with speech development
- Holding the space for adult teeth to come in later
A baby tooth is so important that if one is knocked out or lost to decay, a dentist places a maintainer to hold the space for a permanent tooth later. Without a place holder, teeth can drift and cause issues when new teeth do emerge.
Care Of Baby Teeth Is Important
Just like adults, children need proper oral care so that their baby teeth remain healthy and intact until the root dissolves and permanent teeth emerge. Even if a baby has only one or two teeth, adults should brush them two times a day. It's important that adults supervise children until they are old enough to understand how to brush effectively. Nighttime brushing before bed is a good habit to encourage as well.
Don't neglect cavities. Baby teeth are prone to decay, especially if children aren't brushing well. While parents are often tempted to just wait and allow the tooth to fall out naturally, it is not a good idea. Keep in mind that cavities are an infection, and these infections spread. The decay doesn't stop at one tooth, and it doesn't go away until a dentist drills and fills it. This means one small cavity left in the mouth can lead to cavities on surrounding teeth.
There are other reasons to fill cavities in baby teeth as well. You should fill them because:
- Cavities cause pain and discomfort
- Cavities can lead to infections
- Unfilled cavities rot the tooth and cause early tooth loss
Even though a baby tooth eventually falls out, they require the same care as adult teeth to prevent dental problems later on or the worsening of existing dental issues.
Just like cavities, if parents notice other issues with a child's teeth, it's best to get it corrected and not wait. Look for:
- Crowded teeth
- Protruding teeth
- Deformed teeth from thumb sucking
For any abnormalities a parent finds, pediatric dental care services can address these concerns. Taking care of baby teeth is just as important as permanent teeth because it is just the beginning of a child's journey to good oral health for a lifetime.