It’s easy to underestimate the importance of baby teeth. Growing up we just think of them as temporary parts of our body, just waiting to fall out and be offered up to the Tooth Fairy. But baby teeth are more important than most people give them credit for.
We get lots of questions about adult teeth at Imagine Dental, but not as many about baby teeth. Which is a shame: There are a lot of misconceptions about what role our baby teeth plays in our oral health. If you’re a parent or plan on having children someday you need to know that there’s a lot more to baby teeth than sticking them under a pillow at night so you can switch it out for a dollar in the morning. Here are five misconceptions about baby teeth.
#1. Baby Teeth Aren’t Important
Your child’s primary teeth, which are more commonly known as baby teeth, are very important. They serve as place-holders in helping their mouths grow healthy during their early years of development. Their primary teeth maintains the proper structure of their mouth. Think of them as guideposts: They’re establishing the places where your permanent teeth will grow into them when the time comes. It’s why losing baby teeth prematurely can be a problem: It can lead to crowding of adult teeth, which can cause overbites and crooked teeth, among a host of other oral health problems.
#2. Cavities In Baby Teeth Don’t Matter
Just because your child’s baby teeth will fall out doesn’t mean that any cavities they may have won’t leave a mark! In addition to any pain or discomfort the cavities could cause while the tooth is still in their mouth, the cavities could also cause lingering health complications that continue to bedevil your child long after the decaying tooth has fallen out. Cavities harbor bacteria that can get into your child’s bloodstream and effect their overall health.
#3. Your Child Doesn’t Need To See The Dentist Until They’re Much Older
Parents don’t bring their children in to see a dentist soon enough. It’s recommended that you bring your child in for their first visit by age one. If they sprout a tooth before hitting that first age milestone, bring them in then! Not only is bringing them in to see a dentist a good way of establishing the importance of dental visits at an impressionable age, it also keeps them safe and healthy: Oral health problems can occur at ANY age. Children are just as much at risk as grown-ups.
#4. There’s No Need To Brush Baby Teeth
Parents should begin brushing teeth as soon as they appear! You should brush baby teeth with all the diligence and care you’d show permanent teeth. Regular brushing helps prevents tooth decay. It also helps establish a lifetime of good dental habits. If you don’t take care of your child’s baby teeth and show them the value of a regular dental hygiene routine, they may have a hard time understanding why it’s so important to take care of their adult teeth as they get older.
#5. You Don’t Have To Worry About Fluoride
If you give your child fluoride, be careful: Too much of it could be a bad thing. Overexposure to fluoride could lead to a cosmetic condition called Fluorosis. Fluorosis can be triggered during the first eight years of life, as that’s the period of time when most permanent teeth are being formed. The classic warning sign of Fluorosis is that when the permanent teeth emerge they come out appearing mildly discolored. They could show stains ranging from yellow to dark brown, as well as display surface irregularities and pits.
You can help keep your child safe from Fluorosis by limiting their fluoride intake. Another thing to watch out for is their toothpaste! Some children like swallowing their fluoride-based toothpastes, which could in the long-run contribute to Fluorosis.
Related: Resolve To Improve Your Oral Hygiene In 2016
To find out more baby teeth, or to schedule an appointment with one of our dentists, call Imagine Dental at 480-893-7733.