There’s a lot to lose by not taking care of baby teeth. Even though primary teeth are temporary, they still matter to your child’s oral and general health. If you’re questioning the effort to get little ones into an early dental routine, these facts show how adopting good habits early can pay off for your child’s oral health further down the road.
Baby teeth help shape speech
The alignment of baby teeth play a big role in forming and pronouncing words correctly. Losing any primary teeth early can increase the risk of speech impediments such as slurring or a lisp. These issues could require a speech pathologist, depending on the severity of issues.
Baby teeth enable proper chewing and eating
Chewing correctly is important to efficiently break down solid foods. In addition, tooth loss or alignment issues can cause complications over time from unnecessary stress to the jaw, and can also affect the development of key facial muscles. Chewing problems could also contribute to a nutritional imbalance if poor oral health starts to impact food choices.
Baby teeth are placeholders for permanent teeth
Primary teeth reserve a spot for a permanent tooth down the road, but the loss of this initial placeholder could cause shifting and result in misalignment of permanent teeth. Regardless of the cosmetic issues, misaligned teeth can result in crowded and/or impacted teeth, make brushing and flossing more challenging, and contribute to jaw disorders such as TMJ.
Healthy baby teeth instill effective dental habits
Teaching good oral hygiene can have a lifelong impact. Introducing healthy dental habits early can establish the importance of preventative dental care, making it easier to stick with these habits throughout adulthood. This promotes a lifetime of good oral health, while significantly reducing the chance for costly dental problems.
Oral Health Tips for Baby Teeth
There is no set timeline for baby teeth to come in, but the American Dental Association provides guidelines for cleaning and caring for baby teeth. While brushing and flossing may not be a favorite activity, introducing healthy habits from the time the first tooth appears can make it easier for the whole family to stick to a routine.
- From birth (no teeth present): wipe gums clean with a moistened cloth
- Ages 0-3 (as teeth become present): brush teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a small smear (the size of a grain of rice) of fluoride toothpaste, twice a day (preferably after breakfast and before bedtime)
- Ages 3-6: brush twice daily with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste
- As the teeth touch each other: add daily flossing to your routine
If you’re wondering about training toothpaste, you can skip it! There is nothing in those products to help to protect your child’s teeth from cavities, so begin using toothpaste with fluoride as soon as teeth appear.
And remember, regular dental health checkups are also crucial to a child’s oral health. Call Dental Design Studio to schedule an appointment to keep those baby teeth healthy and in place!