A month before my wedding day, I started to experience some moderate sensitivity and pain in my mouth. A quick visit to the dentist confirmed there was some decay in one of my lower level teeth and it would need to be removed as soon as possible. So I scheduled an extraction. Just two weeks before I walked down the aisle, I lost my last baby tooth at the age of 31.
Baby teeth can start to appear at around four to six months, with all 20 baby teeth usually showing up by age three. By six years old, the first permanent tooth comes in and by around age 13 kids should have all their permanent teeth (with the exception of wisdom teeth).
In most cases, a permanent tooth’s arrival indicates the departure of the baby tooth (and the arrival of the tooth fairy!). But if a permanent tooth doesn’t come in, it’s not unusual for a baby tooth to stick around. My dentist informed me that if a permanent tooth doesn’t develop, then oftentimes the baby tooth’s roots don’t dissolve and it won’t fall out.
Luckily, I never had any problems with my lone baby tooth until that month before my wedding. I attribute this to taking great care of my teeth and practicing good oral health habits from an early age.
Baby teeth are important because they help kids learn to how to chew their first solid food, aid in speech development and guide the adult teeth so that they come in straight. Here’s another fact: Did you know that cavities in baby teeth can spread to adult teeth? If that cavity is left untreated it can lead to the enamel being eaten through to the tooth’s nerve, which can lead to tooth decay.
So what can you do to help your kids have good oral health for life?
- If your child drinks juice, limit it to mealtimes only. Juice contains a lot of sugar that can fuel
- Drink water between meals and
at bedtime to help rinse bacteria off teeth.
- Tap water is an especially great choice because it has fluoride,
which strengthens baby teeth’s thin enamel.
- Brush your child’s teeth twice a day and be sure to have their
teeth checked out by a pediatrician or dentist by age one.
Megan Tobias is the PR Account Supervisor at Amelie Company, the local Denver advertising and marketing agency that works with Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation.