Childrens Dentistry: 6 Recommendations You Should Know

Parents sometimes feel that because their children have “baby” teeth that will eventually fall out, there is no need to fix a problem that may arise with those teeth.  The truth is that baby teeth or deciduous/primary teeth are very important.  Along with obvious reasons like chewing and talking, primary teeth also help to keep space in your child’s mouth so adult teeth that are forming under the gum tissue can erupt (teeth coming into the mouth).

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If a baby tooth is missing earlier than it should be due to decay and subsequent removal, there could be an issue for the permanent tooth to erupt because drifting or tilting of the surrounding teeth can occur.  This can affect proper alignment of permanent teeth and can be costly to fix down the road with orthodontia (braces).

If a baby tooth has a cavity, it is important to have the cavity removed and a filling placed even though the baby tooth will eventually fall out.  If a primary tooth has a cavity, it can cause the permanent tooth growing underneath to become misshapen and discolored. 1

According to Dr. Martin J. Davis of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, there are several recommendations to keep your child’s teeth healthy:

1. Cut down on snacking.  Snacking increases the production of acid in the mouth, which makes teeth more susceptible to cavities.
2. Stop using bottles.  Try to teach your child to not use a bottle by the age of 1.  Also, try to refrain from using sippy cups.  Anything that your child can take small sips from for a long period of time (unless it’s water) can be hard on their teeth due to the sugar content.
3. Start cleaning your child’s teeth by 6 months of age or when the first teeth are showing.  Use a soft wash cloth to remove plaque.
4. Brush, brush, brush.  Kids will not be able to do a good enough job brushing their teeth on their own until they are about 6 years of age, so be willing to help them.
5. Fluoride.  Be sure to use a small amount of fluorinated toothpaste.  For babies, just a smear is good, for toddlers, a pea size amount is appropriate.  Also check your water for fluoride content.  If it is not fluorinated, there are fluoride drops available.
6. Supervise.  When your child is old enough to properly brush by himself, watch to make sure he/she is doing it correctly.  Also, teaching them to floss when adult teeth erupt is an important habit to introduce early!

Remember, prevention is key to a healthy mouth.  Be sure to actively take part in your child’s dental habits to start them on the road to a bright healthy smile.  The hygienists at Szmanda Dental will be glad to see children and start them on a regimen of good oral hygiene.  We also invite you to bring them in with you to your appointment to familiarize them with the office before they come in for their own visit.  Every child enjoys a ride in the dental chair on mom or dad’s lap!

Information compiled from the American Dental Association, The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry and Staff at Szmanda Dental Center. 1 University of Iowa Health Science Relations – Dr. Stephen Goepferd. © Szmanda Dental Center, S.C. 2012

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