One of the benefits of growing up is that we are able to have an entirely new set of teeth come in during our childhood. Taking great care of our baby, or primary teeth, can greatly affect the health of the permanent teeth that we will have for the entire rest of our lives.
Primary teeth act as guides for the developing permanent teeth. Most of the time the last primary tooth is not lost until as late as 12 years of age. Because primary teeth are not as strong as permanent teeth, it’s important to take exceptional care of them so they can last.
Decay in a primary tooth isn’t uncommon. Primary teeth are less dense and decay can spread more quickly than it can in a permanent tooth. This also means it’s important to treat it as soon as it is diagnosed, to prevent complications or spread of infection. A common misconception is that it’s not important to remove decay in a baby tooth, because it will simply fall out. However, allowing a tooth to fall out prematurely can disrupt the eruption pattern of the developing permanent teeth, potentially causing orthodontic problems later on. Decay can also spread through the tooth down toward the developing permanent tooth, creating a secondary infection. In rare cases, dental abscesses from baby teeth have been thought to spread bacteria into other areas of the body, including the brain.
Don’t wait until your child complains of a toothache before you take them to the dentist. Early preventive care can help prevent dental emergencies and invasive treatment. But, if you are caught off guard by a surprise, see your pediatric dentist immediately to help preserve the tooth and protect the health of your child’s smile.
Posted on behalf of Marietta Family Dental Care, P.C.
After decades of declining rates of tooth decay, recent reports of an increase in the number of cavities reported in baby teeth in children between the ages of 2 and 5 are a troubling indication of a potential reversal of decades of improved oral health in American. There are similar reports of increased tooth decay in Canadian children.
The studies did not focus on the reason for the increased rate of tooth decay in this age group, but speculation focuses on increased intake of sugary drinks and foods, drinking bottled water instead of fluorinated tap water, and parents concerned about upsetting their children who resist teeth brushing.
Experts suggest starting an oral health regimen with children early, even before teeth appear. Wiping your child’s gums or brushing gently with a soft, small brush can get them used to the routine. This way, they will understand that it is a normal part of everyday hygiene. Once the child’s teeth appear, brush twice a day, floss daily, and make the brushing and flossing routine mandatory.
In addition, dentists recommend not putting your baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. The sugars in these drinks will coat the child’s teeth the entire time they are asleep and can accelerate tooth decay. A bottle of water would be a better solution.
When it comes to snacks, steer clear of sugary snacks and drinks. Instead, try crunchy healthy foods like apples and carrots. These foods can actually help scrape off some of the plaque and are good for your child’s teeth.
Finally, start your child’s dental health off right by beginning regular dental cleanings and checkups at an early age. Most dentists recommend that children visit a pediatric dentist for the first time when they are one year old. If you start early, your child may get used to the dentist and avoid dental anxiety later in life.
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