Baby teeth, commonly referred to as primary teeth, are temporary so many parents overlook their care. Unfortunately, neglecting baby teeth can have a long-term impact on your child’s smile.
Primary teeth, or baby teeth, serve several purposes including:
- Creating a space for permanent teeth and helping to guide them into position
- Aid in development of jawbones and facial muscles
- Act as an early teaching tool to establish good brushing and flossing habits
Typically, baby teeth begin to appear between 6-12 months. Once the first tooth comes in, your child should be examined by a family or pediatric dentist within 6 months. Besides looking for tooth decay, the dentists can also teach you how to properly care for your child’s teeth and ask questions about thumb sucking habits, diet and more.
Tooth decay can occur as soon as the first tooth comes in, so proper brushing should begin the same day! For children under two, water is sufficient. After age 2, a small amount of fluoride toothpaste should be added. You will also need to monitor your child while brushing to ensure they are rinsing with water and spitting out all toothpaste.
If a baby tooth is lost early, complications can arise as baby teeth serve as placeholders. If a placeholder becomes ready “too soon” a permanent tooth may end up in the wrong position. Your dentist may recommend a space maintainer to hold the space open for the permanent replacement.
To learn more about the proper care of your child’s teeth, please schedule an appointment with your family dentist in Port Charlotte.