Huntingdon County Dentist talks about the Importance of Baby Teeth

Baby teeth, also known as primary teeth are just as important as permanent adult teeth. Primary teeth typically begin to appear between the ages five months to as late as 15 months. Baby teeth help children chew, get adequate nutrition, smile, develop facial features and speak. Baby teeth also hold space in the jaws for the permanent teeth that are developing under the gums. The loss of Baby teeth prematurely may lead to crowding of the permanent teeth. A space maintainer can be placed to prevent crowding of permanent teeth and allow for proper jaw growth.

The ADA recommends that a dentist examine a child within six months of the eruption of the first tooth and no later than the first birthday. A  dental visit at an early age is called a well baby checkup. Besides checking for tooth decay and other problems, the dentist or hygienist can demonstrate how to clean the child’s teeth properly and how to evaluate for any adverse habits such as sucking of the thumb, finger or pacifier.

Baby bottle decay is another problem that can occur in infants and toddlers. This is decay that occurs when sugary liquids are given and left clinging to the Baby teeth for long periods. These liquids include milk, formula, and juices. The bacteria in the mouth use these sugars as food. Then produce acids that attack the teeth. Each time your child drinks sugar containing liquids, acids attack their little Baby teeth for 20 minutes after each sip. After many acid attacks, the Baby teeth can decay.

It’s not just what you put in your child’s bottle or sippy cup that causes decay, but how often and for how long of a time. Giving your child a bottle of sweetened liquid many times a day isn’t a good idea. Allowing your child to fall asleep with a bottle during naps or at night can also harm the Baby teeth. Sometimes by the time decay is noticed it may be too late to save the Baby teeth. You can prevent decay of baby teeth from happening to your child.

After each feeding, wipe the baby’s gums with a clean gauze pad. If Baby teeth are present, brush their teeth following all meals. Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula juices or any other sweetened drink. Avoid filling your child’s bottle with sweetened liquids such as juices and soft drinks. Most importantly visit the dentist regularly before your child’s first birthday which is the starting point for cleanings and examinations. Treat baby teeth with the some importance as permanent teeth. Baby teeth are needed to serve your child in many ways their first years.

If you have more questions or concerns about Baby teeth and your child, please contact us or visit our website. Smiles for Life Total Health Dentistry, office of Dr Jeffery Hartman at 814-643-9414, and our staff will be pleased to assist your needs.

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