Your child won't keep his or her first teeth forever, but that doesn't mean those tiny pearly whites don't need conscientious care. Maintaining your child's dental health now will provide health benefits well into adulthood, as primary (baby) teeth serve some extremely important functions.
For one thing, primary teeth serve as guides for the eruption of permanent (adult) teeth, holding the space into which these new teeth will erupt. The crowns (tops) of the permanent teeth actually push against the roots of the baby teeth, causing them to resorb, or melt away. In this way, the adult teeth can take their proper place.
What's more, your child's primary teeth will be there for most of childhood, helping your child to bite, chew and speak. For the first six or so years, he or she will be relying on primary teeth exclusively to perform these important functions. Until around age 12, your child will have a mix of primary and permanent teeth. You will want to make sure those teeth stay healthy and are lost naturally — when it's time. You can find more information about child's teeth in our Aleris Dental Blog.
Tooth Decay in Baby Teeth
Did you know that tooth decay is the most common long-term childhood disease? Children of any age can get tooth decay, even babies and toddlers. And tooth decay is five times more common than asthma. The good news is that tooth decay can be prevented!
What causes tooth decay?
Bacteria in the mouth change the sugar in foods and drinks into acid that attacks the teeth. Each time you eat or drink, that acid can attack the teeth for 20 minutes or longer. Over time tooth decay can develop and a cavity can form.
How does tooth decay affect baby teeth?
Tooth decay in the primary (baby) teeth of young children is also called early childhood caries. Caries is another word for a cavity. It happens when the child's teeth come into contact with...
Our teeth are covered with a sticky film of bacteria, called plaque (sounds like PLAK). When we eat or drink anything that contains sugar-such as cookies, candy, soda, juice, or sports drinks-bacteria turn the sugar into acids that can attack tooth enamel. Over time, these attacks may cause tooth decay, or cavities. The good news is that there is a way to protect teeth and prevent decay: dental sealants.
Why are sealants needed?
Tooth decay often begins on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. These surfaces have pits and grooves that trap plaque, bacteria, and bits of food. The pits and grooves are hard to keep clean, because toothbrush bristles cannot reach into them..
That is how decay starts in the pits and grooves and cavities form. To keep decay from starting here, the dentist may recommend dental sealants.
Your Child's First Dental Visit
Baby teeth-also called primary teeth-are important in the growth and development of a child. Baby teeth can help your child chew foods and speak. They also hold space in the jaws for adult teeth that are growing under the gums.
Babies are born without teeth. Usually baby teeth start to appear in the mouth when the child is 6 months old. By the third birthday, most children have a full set of 20 baby teeth including incisors, canines and molars.
It is very important to brush and floss baby teeth. To make it easier you can try special training toothbrush baby-sets.
Though Aleris Salem Dental Center is not a pediatric practice we will do our best to take care of your kid's teeth.
If we feel that your child needs help of a pediatric dentist - we will recommend visiting a specialist!