Baby teeth pave the way for your child’s permanent teeth. When a baby tooth is lost prematurely to decay or trauma, it can negatively impact the growth and alignment of the incoming permanent tooth. Strong, healthy baby teeth are an important piece of the development and growth of your child. Along with regular trips to your pediatric dentist for dental cleanings, there are a few tips and tricks to help keep your child’s teeth healthy and happy.
Why Baby Teeth are Important
Healthier Adult Teeth
As baby teeth grow, they also grow and develop a strong, supportive jaw. By age three, most babies have fully developed their primary set of 20 baby teeth. These primary teeth hold the space in which permanent teeth will eventually grow. If a baby tooth is lost too soon, it can shift and cause make it difficult for permanent teeth to find room to grow. This can lead to crooked smiles and crowded teeth in need of expensive orthodontic treatments.
Improved Motor Skills
Babies continually develop their motor skills as they grow, including their ability to chew! A healthy set of baby teeth can aid babies in learning to properly eat and chew solid foods leading to healthier digestion. Much like learning to chew, a healthy jaw and teeth can also aid in the faster development of your child’s ability to speak.
How to Care for Your Baby’s Teeth
Start Promoting Healthy Teeth Before They Arrive
Good oral hygiene practices can begin in the infancy stage to ensure a healthy set of baby teeth. Routinely wiping your newborn’s gums with a clean, soft washcloth can lessen the number of bacteria present in your baby’s mouth. It is also important to keep utensil sharing with your baby — at any age — to a minimum. Baby teeth are more vulnerable and the bacteria in your saliva from a shared spoon or fork could actually lead to a cavity in your baby’s teeth.
Establish a Daily Brushing Routine
Decay can develop as soon as baby teeth start growing in, so It is important to brush daily as soon as the first tooth appears. Establish a routine to brush twice daily until your child is old enough to learn how to properly brush their teeth. A proper brushing — and eventually flossing — routine can keep teeth healthier, longer. Once your child begins brushing their teeth on their own, supervise to ensure they are doing it correctly and safely.
A Healthy Diet for Healthy Teeth
Since baby teeth are more susceptible to cavities and decay, it is important to limit the amount of sugar in your baby’s daily diet. Sugary treats are acceptable on occasion but should not be consumed daily. This includes juices, sweets, and other sugary food and drinks in your baby’s diet that can lead to cavities. Routine Pediatric Dental Cleaning.
It is recommended to begin seeing a pediatric dentist after the first baby tooth appears. Since decay can occur as teeth grow in, it is critical to begin scheduling regular dental cleanings and visits. Your pediatric dentist can provide tips for diets and habits that promote healthy gums and teeth as well as to detect triggers that can lead to cavities and other oral problems.
Maintaining the health of your baby’s teeth can begin at infancy. Through proper cleaning routines and careful prevention, your child can have a lifetime of healthy, happy smiles. Contact your pediatric dentist to learn more about how you can be proactive in contributing to your baby’s oral health.