Did you know a baby’s primary teeth are already in the jaw at birth? Most baby teeth aren’t visible in a child’s mouth until they’re at least six months old. From the onset, baby teeth should be taken care of because they play an integral role in child oral health.
Here are five reasons to give baby teeth the attention and care they deserve:
- The protective enamel on baby teeth is thin. Baby teeth simply aren’t as tough as adult teeth. This makes young children especially vulnerable to cavities and tooth decay. Dental disease in children is five times more common than asthma even though it’s preventable in nearly every case.
- Healthy baby teeth = healthy adult teeth. They guide adult teeth so they come in straight. Also, cavities in baby teeth can easily spread to adult teeth. If baby teeth come out too soon because of disease, adult teeth are more likely to come in crooked and in poor health.
- Baby teeth love water. Drinking water helps rinse teeth of cavity-causing bacteria. It’s also good for growing a healthy body and mind. Tap water is especially great because, when it has fluoride, it strengthens the thin enamel found on baby teeth.
- Cavity-causing bacteria love sugary drinks. Baby teeth often get exposed to sugar throughout the day. Your kids might love sipping sugar-sweetened milk (like chocolate milk) during playtime or going to bed with a sippy cup full of juice. Prolonged drinking bathes baby teeth in sugar, fueling bacteria in a child’s mouth. These bacteria create acid that eats away at the thin enamel of baby teeth, causing a cavity.
- Baby teeth matter. Poor dental health can have countless harmful effects on a child’s life. School performance can suffer greatly due to pain, absence and low self-esteem. Unhealthy baby teeth that get pulled or fall out too soon because of decay have negative effects on the health of the adult teeth that come in behind them. That’s why protecting your child’s baby teeth is so important.
As your child’s smile develops, remember to wipe their gums with a wet cloth. When they get old enough, brush their teeth with them twice a day. Time spent now on good oral health habits will help kids share a lifetime of healthy smiles.