HOW IMPORTANT ARE BABY TEETH, REALLY?
Starting your child with regular dental visits early will give them the best chance of having good teeth for life. While baby teeth fall out and are replaced by adult teeth, baby teeth have many important roles for growth and development, and it is therefore just as necessary to keep these baby teeth healthy until they naturally become loose and fall out.
Your child may have their baby teeth from 6 months of age up until around 12 years of age, so there are many years in between to care for their teeth and set up good dental care habits!
Firstly, baby teeth allow for normal speech, eating, chewing, and smiling. The baby teeth also maintain the space for the replacement adult teeth and help guide normal jaw growth. If baby teeth are lost early due to decay, the other teeth can move into the space and may lead to a problem with the adult teeth becoming crooked and crowding – which might mean braces or more treatment in the future.
What if baby teeth develop decay?
If a baby tooth develops a large area of decay, due to their small size and relatively large nerves, the decay can very quickly involve the nerve in the tooth, leading to pain and likely having to have the tooth taken out early. This is never a nice experience for you, your child, or your dentist! In extreme cases, decay in baby teeth can lead to a large spreading infection, which may require a hospital stay, general anaesthetic, and can even be life-threatening.
Additionally, the higher levels of bacteria in your child’s mouth if they have active dental decay in baby teeth will be present in their mouth and can then affect the growing adult tooth, putting the adult teeth at higher risk of developing cavities as well. If an infected baby tooth has had a large infection from dental decay, this can even damage the developing adult tooth, so that the adult tooth does not form correctly.
In some special circumstances, a child might not grow a replacement adult tooth at all, and then it is most important to care for the baby tooth!
How can decay on baby teeth be prevented?
Finally, starting prevention early will be your child’s best defence against decay, and put them at ease about (or even look forward to!) dental visits. Regular early dental visits where we count and clean your child’s teeth and teeth them about cleaning and caring for their teeth are great positive experiences.
An early dental visit once your child’s baby teeth are coming through or around 2 years of age allows us to familiarise them with the dental environment, and make recommendations for helping care for their teeth at home, which has benefits over their lifetime.
So while baby teeth may not be there forever, they play an important role in growth, development, and positive dental experiences.
Does your child need some tooth-brushing tips, or are you simply looking for a family-friendly dentist? Give the team at Blomberg Dental a call today.